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August 7th, 2003

Combat the Swarm.

SHANGHAI - A swarm of locusts has forced residents of an Inner Mongolia town into taking drastic measures to stop the insects from settling on surrounding pastures and grasslands, officials said.

Residents of the Chinese border town of Erenhot are maintaining a blackout at night as electric lighting tends to attract the insects.

The Yangcheng Evening News reported Tuesday that the locusts -- which arrived in the region in June -- were "like snow falling from the sky."

Crushed insects blanketed the roads of the remote town, the newspaper said, and the swarm had already engulfed more than 11 million hectares of Inner Mongolia's grasslands.

"Locusts like well-lit places and people turned off their lights so the bugs won't fly into their homes," Zhang Zhuoran, section chief of Inner Mongolia Grassland Plant Protection Station, told Reuters Wednesday.

"The affected area is almost all grassland. The locusts have hit about 10 percent of Inner Mongolia's grassland but the situation is under control," he added."

Marriot Hotel.

"Australian police are being mobilised to help their Indonesian counterparts, after a suspected terrorist blast rocked a luxury hotel in central Jakarta, killing at least 13 people.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) denied a news agency report that an Australian was among three foreigners killed in Tuesday's explosion outside the Marriott hotel, in the Mega Kuningan area of Jakarta.

A DFAT spokesman said the information was believed to be wrong.

"We believe that report to be incorrect," he said. "But the Dutch have informed us they have a national dead."

Two Australians were among more than 150 people injured in the explosion, which is believed to have been carried out by a suicide bomber.

"But there is nothing life threatening about their injuries," the spokesman said. "I would like the reassure the Australian people that they have no need to worry about their own kind. There's nothing to get upset about here. There's no need for you to start questioning your government's motives in relation to world politics just yet."



Meanwhile, in Australia itself, John Howard proclaimed that, "Australia remains at risk of terrorist attacks."

Mr Howard said although the risk to Australia was not as great as in other countries, the threat remained strong.

He also added that terrorist bombing of the Marriott Hotel was the work of fanatics who, this time, had attacked and killed fellow Muslims.

"The whole region continues to be at some risk, it varies," Mr Howard told Sydney Radio 2GB, and it's strong audience of aging voters who, even though they admit to being lied too during the recent Iraq war, still support Howard and his government.

"It's a greater risk in Indonesia and other parts of the region than in Australia but we are not risk-free; we haven't been risk-free for some years. This country has been a terrorist target for a long time now and certainly there's evidence we were looked at by al-Qaeda before September 11, 2001," he said.

"Having said that, the degree of risk in Australia is not, I repeat, as great as in other countries but there is risk."

He further went on to add that he did not want to alarm the public and Australians should get on with their lives. "We would not have had this housing boom without you," he expained. "And DVD players are really cheap. I bought one for a hundred bucks--a hundred bucks! It's a bargain. Costello knows this guy who can make it multi region for another twenty, and i've been watching old John Wayne films all week. George--that's George W. Bush--he rings up and we quote lines from Alamo to each other."

Principle article quotes take from here. and while i think howard is a deaf dwarf who needs a beating, he also said, "One or two non-Indonesians have died and there are some non Indonesians among the injured. But almost all of the people killed or injured were Indonesians. They're attacking and killing fellow Muslims and that means that this is a war that must be waged by Muslims and Christians and Jews and all people of good will around the world against fanatics."