Noodle shop blast kills six
Six people were killed and another 17 injured yesterday when a noodle shop collapsed after a gas cooker exploded, police and witnesses said. The early morning blast on a busy street in Phnom Penh killed the two shop owners and four others, police said. "We are searching for more bodies. We suspect that there are two more bodies stuck in the building," policeman Chhith Vuthy said. He said 17 people were taken to hospital. "We think the cause was the cooker which got too hot and the building is also very old," he said.
■ Sri Lanka
Rebels clash, two killed
Two rival factions of the Tamil Tiger rebels clashed yesterday in eastern Sri Lanka, killing at least two combatants and wounding three. A splinter group broke away from the Tamil Tigers a year ago, and the two factions have frequently been clashing, threatening a 2002 ceasefire between the rebels and government. The northern-based Tigers accuse the government of backing the eastern, breakaway rebels. The government denies the charge.
Tornadoes strike, 28 dead
Two tornadoes tore through northern Bangladesh, killing at least 28 people, injuring nearly 900 and leaving thousands homeless. The tornadoes struck late Sunday almost simultaneously, blowing away huts in dozens of farming villages in Gaibandha and Rangpur districts. The tornado also flattened 700 mud and straw houses. Rescue teams have been dispatched to the area. A second tornado swept through neighboring Rangpur district, killing at least three people and injuring about 100. The tornadoes blew away or leveled thousands of trees and electricity poles plunging villages into darkness and hampering rescue work, said Mahbubul Islam, a journalist in Rangpur. The twisters struck when many villagers were either asleep or preparing to eat dinner.
Woman kills family, self
A woman in a troubled marriage shot her husband, her children and then turned the gun on herself, police said yesterday in their first public comments on a triple-murder suicide that has shocked Australians as much by the gender of the perpetrator as the grisly nature of the crime. Police believe Sally Winter, 32, shot dead husband Steven, also 32, and children Jake and Casey, aged four and three, before killing herself with a bullet to the head. Relatives found the bodies Sunday inside the family's new house in affluent Hunter Valley.
Illegal demolitions fined
New draft rules introduce fines of up to US$60,000 dollars for developers who knock down buildings without approval from the government or courts. The rules are open for public opinion until March 30 but already many residents are saying the fines are not big enough to deter real estate developers looking for prime land. Across China's major cities, especially in Beijing where the 2008 Olympic Games will be held, people living in centrally-located homes are being forced to make way for commercial and residential buildings. Critics accuse the authorities of being in cohorts with developers, hungry for the revenue they can rake in. Most residents grudgingly pack up, having no choice but to take a non-negotiable amount as compensation. In some cases thugs hired by developers have broken into people's homes, dragging people out of bed and beating them, before demolishing old houses.