More on trial for labor crime
Another 26 people accused of forced labor and brutal conditions in brickyards have gone on trial amid a scandal that has outraged the nation, state press said yesterday. The defendants are all charged with forcing people to work in "unspeakable" conditions at small brick factories in the north, Xinhua news agency said. No verdicts have yet been reached, it said. Five brickyard bosses accused of murder and forced labour were put on trial earlier this month, and more than 150 suspects have been arrested over brick factories that were allegedly subjecting workers to inhumane conditions.
Money left in washrooms
Several envelopes containing ¥10,000 (US$82) bills and well-wishing notes have been discovered in municipal toilets nationwide, media reports said, baffling civil servants and triggering a nationwide hunt. Local media have estimated that more than ¥2 million in bills were found at men's rooms in city halls in at least 15 prefectures in recent weeks. Each package of ¥10,000 bills, some wrapped in traditional washi paper, was accompanied by handwritten letters that read "Please make use of this money for your self-enrichment," and "One per person," according to reports. Officials are baffled over the identity of the benefactor or any motives, the reports said. Packages turned over to police will be kept in case someone claims them.
Sea scoured after shipwreck
Rescue workers were scouring the sea after a ship carrying 60 people capsized in stormy weather, killing at least two children and leaving dozens of people missing, a port official said yesterday. Twenty-nine people wearing life vests were plucked from the sea by a passing oil tanker, after their boat was pounded by 4m waves on Tuesday night. The KM Wahai Star had been on a regular voyage from Buru island to Ambon, the capital of Maluku Province, and was carrying 43 passengers and 17 crew, survivors said. The cause of the accident was unclear, but port officials said a broken engine may have hampered attempts to navigate in the storm.
Ferry sinks, killing 12
A ferry sank southeast of Manila early yesterday, killing at least 12 people, officials said. The army said at least 129 survivors had been accounted for hours after the MV Blue Water Princess, a ferry carrying passengers and cargo, sank off San Francisco in Quezon Province. The initial chaos produced varying accounts on the number of casualties and passengers. The coast guard reported eight dead, two missing and 50 rescued.
Stray bull tosses runners
Charging bulls gored at least four people yesterday as this year's San Fermin festival in Pamplona served up its longest and most dangerous run yet. Several others people were hospitalized for treatment of head injuries and other less serious injuries, a Red Cross spokesman said. The pack of six bulls and six steers -- meant to keep the bulls running in a single pack -- disintegrated shortly after the animals set off. One stray bull turned around and ran the wrong way. It charged and tossed several runners. The run lasted six minutes and nine seconds, compared with the normal two minutes.
■ UNITED KINGDOM
Wedding guest too early
Teacher Dave Barclay flew from Toronto, Canada, to Wales to attend his friend's wedding, only to discover he was a year early. The groom had e-mailed Barclay, 34, at the start of the year. "He just said July the 6th and I assumed it was this year," Barclay said. It was only after he arrived in Cardiff and rang the bridegroom seeking details of the venue that he discovered the wedding was next year. "I am a year early -- yeah, my mates are loving it, aren't they," he told BBC Radio Wales.