■ ChinaMine blast kills 15
A sudden burst of poisonous gas in a coal mine in northeast China killed 15 miners, the government said, days after the death toll in another accident rose to 141. The rush of gas occurred Saturday at the Xilutian Mine in Fushun, a city in Liaoning Province, when 50 miners were working underground, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. The miners were about 400m from the entrance of the shaft, Xinhua said, citing Li Sen, an executive with Fushun Coal Industry Corp, which owns the mine. Fifteen workers were instantly killed, while the rest managed to escape, Li said. The cause of the accident was under investigation.
MPs to relax with sack races
Stressed-out Indian members of parliament (MPs) will relax at weekends with sack races and other games if a ministerial proposal is accepted. According to a plan by parliamentary affairs minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, a plethora of sporting events will be organized for the MPs at weekends during parliamentary sessions, the Indian Express reported. Apart from traditional sports like golf, shooting, swimming and cricket, the events will include sack races, untying a knot (for women MPs only), lemon in a spoon race, three-legged races, hitting the post with a hockey stick, rolling the wheel and the traditional Indian sport of kabbadi.
Landmines to be destroyed
Bangladesh will begin destroying its stockpile of around 200,000 landmines from tomorrow, putting it in the forefront of efforts to eliminate the weapons in one of the world's most heavily-mined regions, a military source said yesterday. "We will start destroying anti-personnel landmines from next Tuesday under a treaty with the United Nations," said a senior military official, who would not be named. The destruction would be completed in mid-2005 in a project funded by the Canadian government through the UN Development Program, he said. The army would retain around 15,000 mines to be used for training soldiers for missions, including UN peacekeeping assignments.
■ Hong Kong
Tycoon donates to olympics
Hong Kong's and Asia's richest man Li Ka-shing donated HK$100 million (US$12.8 million) to the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the city's top Communist Party official promptly declared him a patriot, local media reported yesterday. Newspapers ran a photo of Li's son, Victor Li (李澤楷), handing over a blown-up check made out to Beijing's National Swimming Center to Beijing Mayor Wang Qishan (王岐山) in Beijing on Saturday. "What we received is not just money but more importantly the patriotism of Mr. Li and his support for the Olympics," the South China Morning Post quoted Liu Qi, Beijing's top Communist Party official, as saying. Li is known to be close to the Chinese leadership and frequently donates to charitable causes.
Minister warns Australia
Malaysia has issued a warning against any possible challenge to its sovereignty after a newspaper report that new Australian warplanes will be able to launch long-range missiles at targets anywhere in Asia. The Australian newspaper reported on Saturday. Malaysian Defense Minister Najib Razak said he felt Australia would respect Asian nations' sovereignty but stressed Malaysia could look after its own interests, including fighting terrorism.
■ SomaliaClashes leave 100 dead
About 100 people were reported killed on Saturday in fighting between Puntland and the rival Somali territory of Somaliland, which accused Puntland's leader, now Somalia's new president, of waging war on it. Abdullahi Yusuf, elected president on Oct. 10, has pledged to work peacefully with breakaway Somaliland as he tries to restore order to Somalia, which descended into anarchy in 1991 following the ousting of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre. But his election alarmed Somaliland, hostile to a man long seen as its arch foe in the neighboring autonomous territory of Puntland.