At least 75 people, most of them members of the "God's Flock" Christian sect, died yesterday in a pre-dawn fire that ripped through a Philippine hotel, officials said. \nThe group from several rural provinces was staying at the budget, six-story Manor Hotel in Quezon City while attending a conference for born-again Christians in Manila. \nAt least 34 people were also injured in the blaze. \nMany of the victims, including children, died of suffocation in their rooms as they were overcome by thick fumes and unable to escape due to barred windows and a shortage of fire exits. \nPresident Gloria Arroyo visited a hospital where the survivors were being treated as well as the makeshift morgue where the bodies of the dead were being kept. \nThe fire, believed to have been caused by an electrical fault, started at 4:30am on the third floor of the hotel and spread quickly to several other floors, police said. \nMany of the 200-odd guests, including 169 God's Flock members attending the conference, were trapped in their rooms. \nAt the height of the three-hour blaze, scores of trapped guests were seen weeping and waving to firemen along the hotel's balcony, crying for help and shaking grilles and iron bars on their windows. \n"There were many people who were trapped and yearning for help but who could not be rescued," Johnny Yu, Metro Manila director for civil defense, said. \nFiremen had to train their hoses on desperate guests crowding along the balconies waiting for help, as the flames spread behind them. They used circular saws to cut the grilles before rescuing the victims using long ladders mounted on fire engines. \nThe bodies were later taken to a police camp in the suburb where they were lined up on the floor of a basketball court, waiting for weeping relatives to identify them. \nThe city's fire marshal, Ricardo Nemenze, was suspended soon after the blaze pending an investigation as Jose Lina, the interior and local government secretary, vowed to press charges if criminal neglect was established. Lina said his office would look into reports that the hotel was found only two months ago to have flouted the building code and was given 15 to 30 days to rectify any lack of facilities including safety measures. \nIt was the worst fire disaster to hit the country since a 1996 blaze in Ozone Disco, also in Quezon City, killed about 160 people.
China would attack Taiwan if there is no other way of stopping it from becoming independent, Chinese General Li Zuocheng (李作成) said yesterday. Speaking at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on the 15th anniversary of China’s “Anti-Secession” Law, Li, who is chief of the Joint Staff Department of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Central Military Commission, left the door open to using force. The 2005 law is China’s legislative basis for military action against Taiwan. “If the possibility for peaceful reunification is lost, the people’s armed forces will, with the whole nation, including the people of Taiwan, take all necessary steps to
SECURITY CONCERNS: The Telecom Technology Center ran black-box tests for the Executive Yuan on devices and software from Chinese, US and South Korean firms Network devices from several Chinese manufacturers are insecure and allow personal information to be leaked, testing commissioned by the Executive Yuan has shown. A variety of devices and software, including apps, from Chinese, US and South Korean manufacturers that are used by government agencies at the central and local level were subjected to black-box testing — in which the functionality of an application is examined without knowing about its internal structure, an information-security official said yesterday on condition of anonymity. The Telecom Technology Center conducted the tests, which simulated cyberattacks, to determine their resilience to the attacks, the official said. The center
Americans awoke yesterday to charred and glass-strewn streets in dozens of cities after another night of unrest fueled by rage over the mistreatment of African Americans at the hands of police, who responded to the violence with tear gas and rubber bullets. Tens of thousands marched peacefully through streets to protest the death of George Floyd, a black man who died on Monday last week after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on his neck until he stopped breathing. However, many demonstrations sank into chaos as night fell: Vehicles and businesses were torched. The words “I can’t breathe” were
EXTRA INVITATIONS: Russia, Australia, South Korea and India would be asked to a later summit dedicated to countering China, Donald Trump said US President Donald Trump has been forced to cancel a planned face-to-face summit of G7 leaders this month and now wants to host an expanded meeting in September dedicated to countering China to which Russian President Vladimir Putin would be invited. Trump on Saturday announced that he had canceled the June meeting, which he had billed as a symbol of the US “transitioning back to greatness,” after German Chancellor Angela Merkel told him in a telephone call that she saw the summit in Washington as a health risk. Hundreds of security staff, journalists and officials also attend the two-day summits. Reports suggest