Red Cross office attacked
An explosion in the parking compound of the Interna-tional Committee of the Red Cross headquarters in Peshawar damaged four vehicles but hurt no one early on Saturday, officials said. Red Cross spokes-woman Layla Berlemont confirmed the attack and lack of casualties in a telephone interview. She said the office had not received any threats before the attack and would continue its activities in and around Peshawar.
Mining officials charged
Officials and mining executives in Henan Province have been accused of concealing the severity of an accident that killed 24 coal miners, not seven as initially reported, state media said yesterday. Police have arrested five people, including Fu Faming (符發明), the owner and manager of the Xing'an coal mine, and four officials have been dismissed for trying to conceal some of the deaths that resulted from the Feb. 2 mine explosion, the Beijing Morning Post and other newspapers said.
■ Hong Kong
Travel agent accused
A Chinese travel agent has been accused of abandoning three mentally disabled children in the territory, where they could benefit from a better welfare system, the South China Morning Post said yesterday. The agent from Guangdong Province faces three counts of child abuse for bringing three boys to Hong Kong and leaving them at a parking lot and a playground, it said. "The nascent trend of mentally handicapped children from the mainland being abandoned here is ... a serious concern," the paper said in its editorial.
■ South Korea
Detention center fire kills 10
A fire at a detention center killed 10 foreigners and injured 17 others, mostly Chinese, who were waiting deportation for illegal entry, a fire department official said yesterday. Nine Chinese and one Uzbeck were killed in the pre-dawn fire at the detention center in Yeosu, 455km south of Seoul, the official said on customary condition of anonymity because he's not authorized to talk to the media. The 17 injured were mostly Chinese, he said.
Woman dies of bird flu
A 20-year-old woman died of bird flu early yesterday, bringing the number of people killed by the virus in the country to 64, health and hospital officials said. The victim -- identified only as Elis -- was from the village of Karangpawitan, West Java, where at least four other people also have fallen ill with symptoms of the disease, said Yogi Suprayogi, a spokesman at Slamet Hospital where she was admitted on Friday. "She was in really bad condition when she came here." Suprayogi said Elis apparently had contact with dead chickens a week before she was admitted.
F-22 fighter planes delayed
The arrival of 12 US F-22 fighter planes at a US air base on Okinawa was delayed yesterday without word on a new date for their first deployment outside the US. The US Air Force's newest fighter planes had been scheduled to arrive at the weekend at the US Kadena Air Base. But a statement from the Air Force in Okinawa said the aircraft had turned back to Hawaii for operational reasons, without elaborating. They were still scheduled to be deployed.
World kissing record broken
More than 6,000 couples kissed simultaneously with organizers of the event claiming to have set a new world record. Organizers of the annual pre-Valentine's Day celebration said they broke the record held by Hungary, where 5,875 couples kissed simultaneously in Budapest in 2005. "We broke the record, it's great," said Howard Belton, a Briton who spearheaded the midnight Saturday event. With fireworks, confetti, a giant TV screen and red balloons as the backdrop, couples locked lips and hugged for 10 seconds following the midnight countdown outside a Manila mall. An unofficial tally showed 6,124 couples kissed simultaneously, organizers said, but the number still needs to be verified by an independent auditor and approved by Guinness World Record officials before it becomes an official world record.