Temple blast kills four
A grenade exploded in a Hare Krishna temple during a major Hindu religious festival in the northeastern state of Manipur, killing four people and leaving 40 others injured in a stampede following the blast, police said. The explosion took place in the state capital of Imphal on Wednesday while Hindus were celebrating the birthday of Hindu god Krishna, police officer Kasim Ali said. The temple belongs to the International Society of Krishna Consciousness. The injured included four foreign nationals, an army officer said on condition of anonymity.
Media `egged on' suicide
TV journalists keen for a story encouraged a protester to burn himself to death, giving him matches and fuel, a report quoting police said on Wednesday. The journalists in the eastern state of Bihar kept the cameras rolling as Manoj Mishra, who was demanding back pay, suffered 90 percent burns to his body, the Indian Express newspaper said. Police later filed a case against the journalists, accusing them of abetting suicide, the daily said. "The media people fully knew the intention of the man and still allowed him to proceed with his plan to commit suicide and went on shooting the scene," Jain was quoted as saying.
Brothel causing headache
A city is agonizing over whether it should preserve an ancient building that once housed a brothel in case it is seen as promoting prostitution, state media said yesterday. The problem is that if the authorities at Jinggang, Hunan Province, decide not to save the structure, they may be seen as indifferent to the value of cultural relics, Xinhua news agency said. Built in 1733, the brothel is now on the verge of collapse and the city government must reach a decision one way or the other, the agency said. It is getting little help from the public, as some vehemently oppose keeping it while others are passionately against tearing it down.
Tokyo pressing for release
The government dispatched diplomats yesterday to negotiate the release of three fishermen detained by Russia after a high-seas shooting killed a fellow crew member. A Russian patrol boat opened fire on their vessel on Wednesday in the latest flare up in a territorial row over a series of islands off the northeast coast of Hokkaido. Russia seized the boat, accused the crew of illegal fishing and took the three survivors to Russia for further questioning. Japanese newspapers cited Russia's Itar-Tass news agency as saying they would be indicted for poaching, smuggling and border violations. The Foreign Ministry yesterday pressed again for their immediate release. It also protested Russia's response to the alleged poaching as too extreme and demanded that the officials responsible for the shooting be punished.
Arroyo orders killings probe
President Gloria Arroyo has ordered the setting up of an independent commission with "broad powers" to investigate a wave of political killings, the presidential palace said yesterday. The announcement comes days after rights group Amnesty International released a report condemning the killings and urged the government to take immediate action. "The president is now mulling over a short list of appointees for a new, powerful commission that will probe the killings of journalists and activists."
■ Czech Republic
Pluto still a planet