Mine owners arrested
Police took the two owners of Baoxin Coal Mine in Heilongjiang Province into custody on Friday, a day after an explosion at the facility trapped the miners. The owners were not identified. Rescue efforts to free the miners were being hampered by heavy flooding in the mine triggered by the explosion. In January 2003 an explosion at the same mine killed 34 people.
Landslide traps 12
A landslide trapped 12 villagers and destroyed almost 100 homes in Gaolou, Shaanxi Province, state media said yesterday. Thirteen people were buried when the landslide occurred on Friday. One -- a child -- was rescued early yesterday. No cause for the landslide has been identified. More than 600 people were involved in the rescue efforts organized by Shaanxi's vice governor. Enclosed spaces at the site of the landslide meant that excavators could not be used to clear away tons of dirt, seriously hampering the efforts to rescue the trapped villagers.
Pollution fines mulled
China should slap daily fines on firms that pump untreated waste into lakes and rivers, as current penalty limits make long-term pollution profitable, an official was quoted as saying yesterday. Normally, fines for pollution are capped at 200,000 yuan (US$25,300) regardless of how long a factory ignores pollution regulations, the China Daily said. A daily charge would give companies an economic incentive to clean up their waste, Mao Rubai, chairman of the Environmental and Resources Protection Committee of China's parliament, said.
Ships run aground, one dies
One Indian sailor died and 25 people were missing off Japan's Pacific coast after two ships ran aground in high winds and heavy seas, a Japanese Coast Guard official said yesterday. Nine crew members of a Panamanian-flagged iron ore carrier were missing after being swept off the bow of the 98,600-tonne Giant Step late on Friday after the vessel became stranded off Tokyo after a fire. Seventeen others were rescued although one later died in hospital, the Coast Guard said. The crew consisted of 25 Indians and one Sri Lankan. Media reports said the ship had broken in two.
Dengue fever deaths mount
Dengue fever has killed three more people in the country's capital, news reports said yesterday. The Delhi High Court blamed the city administration and its municipal authority for the outbreak of the mosquito-borne disease. The disease, which usually spreads as the annual monsoon season tapers off and leaves puddles of stagnant water for mosquitoes to breed in, has killed more than 40 people across the northern part of the country in the past six weeks, with New Delhi the hardest hit. At least 743 people in and around New Delhi have been diagnosed with dengue fever and three people died on Friday, taking the death toll in the city to 21, Star News TV said.
Wannabe fireman sentenced
An Australian con man who wanted to be a fireman stopped at traffic accidents to offer help and even stole a fire truck so he could impress his girlfriend with a joyride, a court heard on Friday. Simon Francis Jobson pleaded guilty to 30 charges including fraud, theft, forgery and impersonating a public official, local media reported. Judge Michael Forde sentenced Jobson to five years in jail but told the District Court in the Queensland state capital Brisbane that he would be eligible for parole in a year.