China condemns deaths
The Chinese Embassy condemned the killing of three Chinese workers in Peshawar, urging authorities yesterday to launch a probe into the attack. The three died when gunmen opened fire inside an auto-rickshaw factory on Sunday. A fourth Chinese national was seriously wounded. The assailants and motive for the attack were unknown, said Abdul Karim, a senior police official in Peshawar. The embassy said its deputy chief and other diplomats had gone to Peshawar to deal with the issue. There have been several attacks on Chinese nationals in Pakistan blamed on Islamic militants in recent years.
Anti-drugs minister quits
Counter-Narcotics Minister Habibullah Qader has resigned, a ministry spokesman said on Sunday, as the nation's farmers bring in what is expected to be another record harvest of opium. Qaderi had been suffering health problems. "He has been sick for the last five months, suffering from a sore throat and hyper-tension," said Counter-Narcotics Ministry spokesman Zalmay Afzali. "He could not cope with the burden of ministerial duties and daily meetings." He has now been posted to Canada as consul general.
Flood death toll rises
Floods and landslides triggered by heavy rains have killed at least 94 people and left 25 others missing in seven provinces, state media reported. Xinhua news agency said on Sunday that about half a million people had been evacuated. It said more than 49,000 houses had been destroyed and another 240,000 damaged as a result of torrential rains in the worst-hit Sichuan and Shaanxi provinces over the past week. The estimated total direct economic losses could reach 3.83 billion yuan (US$500 million), Xinhua said.
■ NEW ZEALAND
Government offers aid
Wellington will give the Solomon Islands NZ$7.5 million (US$5.8 million) in aid over the next two years to help it recover from a deadly earthquake and tsunami, the government said yesterday. A quake and resulting tsunami in April devastated coastal parts of the western Solomons, killing 52 people, driving 9,000 from their homes and damaging or destroying around 6,000 houses and other buildings. "Three months later, 4,000 families are still living in makeshift camps, and there is a widespread need to rebuild basic infrastructure, especially health clinics, water, sanitation, housing, roads, bridges and wharves," Foreign Minister Winston Peters said.
Old timer climbing high
An 89-year-old Italian man set a record on Sunday when he became the oldest person to climb nearly 3,000m to the top of a mountain, a news agency reported. Piero Paci, who turns 90 on Oct. 6, reached the top of the Gran Sasso of Abruzzo, an altitude of 2,914m, Ansa agency said. He opted not to make the climb on his birthday because he would have had to deal with snow. Paci, from Pesaro in central-eastern Italy, was accompanied by his son and a group of friends on the climb.
Few injured in bull run
The running of the bulls saw only minor injuries yesterday as six massive bulls galloped rapidly down crowded, narrow streets surrounded by thousands of alcohol and adrenaline-fueled revelers. Six Spaniards and a 30-year-old US runner -- who injured an elbow -- were treated at hospitals on day three of the festival, the Pamplona government said. The bulls completed the 850m route from a corral on the outskirts of town to Pamplona's central bullring in a fast 2 minutes, 46 seconds, officials said. Though several runners fell directly in the path of the bulls, the animals jumped over them. The runs are held every morning between July 7 and July 14.
Train drivers to strike anew
A union representing train drivers said yesterday it would stage a new walkout in a wage dispute with the national railway, while two other unions were locked in talks with the company over their own demands. The train drivers' union, GDL, said its members would walk off the job today for three hours today. A similar walkout last Tuesday helped bring parts of Germany's railway network to a standstill. GDL is seeking wage increases of up to 31 percent for some of its members and a separate wage deal with railway operator Deutsche Bahn AG for train drivers. Two other unions that represent a broad range of railway employees, Transnet and GDBA, have suspended their own campaign of limited walkouts and held weekend talks with Deutsche Bahn.
Truck pile-up kills 13
Thirteen people were killed and four others injured when four trucks carrying smuggled gasoline collided in the southeast, state TV reported on Sunday. The trucks were traveling with their headlights off when the multiple pile-up occurred late on Saturday on the road between Zahedan and Mirjave, which lies on the border with Pakistan, it said. Millions of liters of cheap Iranian gasoline, which costs just US$0.10 a liter, are smuggled out of the country to Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey where 1 liter costs between US$1 and US$2.
Sarkozy rejects pardons
President Nicolas Sarkozy will not give a traditional Bastille Day pardon to thousands of prisoners, raising concerns that disappointed inmates could riot. Sarkozy, elected in May on a tough law and order program, said he was keeping his election promise. "There will be no collective amnesty," he said. Prison officers, who had hoped the annual mass pardon would ease the pressure on the nation's dilapidated jails, warned the decision could prompt riots. Official figures show the nation's 188 jails have a capacity for around 50,000 inmates but are currently holding nearly 61,000.
■ UNITED STATES
Beauty queen threatened
Miss New Jersey has received a second threatening package from someone trying to blackmail her into relinquishing her crown, her attorney says. Anthony Caruso, an attorney for Amy Polumbo, said that that the package contained a threatening letter and possibly photographs of the 22-year-old beauty queen. Polumbo announced on Thursday that someone was trying to blackmail her with old photographs and demanding that she give up her crown by Friday. She did not step down. The first runner-up to Polumbo in the Miss New Jersey pageant has denied any involvement in the blackmail scheme.
■ UNITED STATES
Cats win dispute
City officials have sided with Ernest Hemingway's former home and its celebrated six-toed felines in its catfight with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). The Key West City Commission exempted the home from a city law prohibiting more than four domestic animals per household. About 50 cats live there. The USDA claims the museum is an "exhibitor" of cats and needs a special license. The new ordinance states that the cats are "an integral part of the history and ambiance of the Hemingway House." The cats are descendants of a six-toed cat given as a gift to the writer in 1935.
■ UNITED STATES
Cheeky ads draw protest
A bidet company's advertising plans in Times Square are too cheeky for the pastor of a nearby church. Reverend Neil Rhodes, pastor of the interdenominational Times Square Church, is asking a state court to block a billboard company from posting huge ads that feature naked buttocks with smiley faces on them on two sides of the building that houses Rhodes' church. "You walk into a church building, you have naked bodies before your eyes. How are you going to close your eyes and seek God?" Rhodes said. The ads promote the Washlet, a bidet-toilet seat that uses warm water and air.
■ UNITED STATES
Bon bon bandit strikes again
A series of armed robberies over the last three months at chocolatiers, ice cream shops, a patisserie and other establishments has the Boston police scrambling to give the robber his just deserts. "He's considered armed and dangerous," Elaine Driscoll, a police spokeswoman said. Since April 17, 18 robberies have occurred at shops like All Things Chocolate, Lindt Chocolate, Bon Bon and Ben & Jerry's. Usually wielding a knife, a handgun or a sawed-off shotgun, the robber has made off with a total of about US$10,000 in cash so far. Nobody has been injured. He has struck at all hours, every few days and picks "boutique-style vendors" likely to have lighter security and more women employees.
■ UNITED STATES
Pennsylvania budget woe
The governor has ordered a range of state government services shut down and placed about a third of Pennsylvania's government workforce on indefinite unpaid furlough after frantic last-minute negotiations failed to break a budget stalemate. Governor Ed Rendell said the shutdown would go forward but he and legislators will continue to work toward a deal. "I sincerely hope that this will be a one-day furlough and I have reason for optimism," he said. Starting yesterday, Pennsylvanians were no longer able to take driver's license tests and state-run museums were shuttered.
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
Three Micronesian sailors stranded on a remote Pacific island have been found alive and well after a rescue team spotted their giant SOS message written into the sand on a beach. Australian and US military aircraft found the three men on tiny Pikelot island, nearly 200km west of where they had set off. Rescuers said that the men were “in good condition” with no significant injuries. The men had been missing for three days after their 7m skiff ran out of fuel and strayed off course. Authorities in the US territory of Guam raised the alarm on Saturday after the men failed to complete
A cat that went missing on a family holiday on the shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland, has been identified 12 years later. Tortoiseshell-and-white Georgie spent October half term in 2008 with her owners at the Rowardennan campsite, but vanished as they were due to return home to Greater Manchester, England. After a search of the site the Davies family departed without Georgie, hoping the three-year-old microchipped feline would be located by someone. Over the intervening 12 years, she remained close to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park site, being fed and cared for by campsite staff and holidaymakers. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdown
LIFELONG LOSS: Jiro Hamasumi, who was not quite born when an atomic bomb hit Hiroshima, lost his father and other relatives, but said he thinks about his father daily As Japan marks 75 years since the devastating attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the last generation of nuclear bomb survivors is working to ensure their message lives on after them. The “hibakusha” — literally “person affected by the bomb” — have for decades been a powerful voice calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons. There are an estimated 136,700 left, many of whom were infants or soon to be born at the time of the attacks. The average age of a survivor now is a little over 83, according to the Japanese Ministry of Health, lending an urgency as they share their testimonies