Fifty-seven trapped in mine
Officials have raised to 57 the number of coal miners trapped below ground by a flood in Shanxi Province and detained nine managers accused of illegally operating the mine, the government's Xinhua news agency said yesterday. The officials increased the estimated number of missing after speaking to miners' families. Local safety officials initially "tried to cover up the accident" and said that only five people were missing, Xinhua said. Water flooded the shaft on Thursday at the Xinjing Coal Mine in Zuoyun County as some 145 miners were working underground.
■ New Zealand
Ex-Salvo accused of abuse
John Francis Gainsford, 69, a former captain in the New Zealand Salvation Army, has been charged with 28 counts of sexual violation and indecencies on young people while managing a children's home in the 1970s, police announced yesterday. The charges involve seven people who lodged complaints of being abused by Gainsford at the Bramwell Booth Salvation Army children's home in the South Island town of Temuka between January 1973 and 1975.
Trading guru arrested
A US futures and commodities trading guru and two-time senate hopeful has been arrested in Sydney for alleged tax evasion, officials said yesterday. Larry Richard Williams, 64, was detained at Sydney airport and later appeared in Central Local Court where he was remanded in custody until tomorrow so that Australian officials could speak with their US counterparts on whether he should be granted bail. The US Internal Revenue Service is seeking Williams' extradition over US$1.5 million in alleged tax evasion from 1999 to 2001.
Fake drug kills nine
Nine people have died after being injected with a fake drug made by a Chinese company and 14 executives have been detained for questioning, state media said yesterday. The victims died after being injected with fake Armillarisni A, made by the Qiqihar No. 2 Pharmaceutical, based in northeastern Heilongjiang Province, Xinhua news agency quoted hospital sources as saying. The nine died in the southern city of Guangzhou, it said. Police had taken five of the detained executives to Guangzhou for questioning, the China Daily said. The drug is used to treat gall bladder, liver and gastric disorders.
■ Hong Kong
Tong finds backers for film
Hong Kong director Stanley Tong (唐季禮) said on Sunday he has secured financing for a movie set during the Nanking Massacre. The film could influence already tense Sino-Japanese relations because of its sensitive content. Tong said he has found financial backers in Germany, the US, China and Hong Kong, as well as Japan, for the film, with a budget of at least US$35 million. Tong said the film, tentatively called Diary, won't focus on the atrocities in Nanjing, although its events will take place during the same period as the killings. "The main thrust of the story is events during that time in Nanjing, but it may not necessarily be the massacre," he said in a phone interview.
Journalist killed in ambush
A broadcast journalist who criticized local officials in his radio show was killed in an ambush on his way to work in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, yesterday, his employers and local officials said. Fernando Batul, 36, was gunned down by two men on a motorbike, his co-worker Lenny Escaro said on DZRH radio. Batul, who worked for DYPR radio and had served as deputy mayor of Puerto Princesa survived an attack last month when two grenades were tossed at his home but failed to explode, Escaro said. She said the victim had publicly criticized local officials including the mayor of Puerto Princesa, Edward Hagedorn. Hagedorn, denying any involvement in the ambush, offered a 2 million peso (US$38,000) bounty for information leading to the arrest of the killers.