Temperature hits record high
The temperature hit a record high yesterday, with the extreme summer heat killing at least 13 people across the nation this week, officials said. The mercury shot up to a record 40.9oC in Tajimi city, Gifu Prefecture, yesterday afternoon, according to the weather agency. The reading eclipsed the previous highest temperature recorded in Japan of 40.8oC set in Yamagata Prefecture in 1933. Five people have been killed since Tuesday in Saitama Prefecture just north of Tokyo, officials said. "Many of the victims are elderly people. They are hard hit by this heat wave as they are not so physically strong to begin with," a disaster-prevention official said.
Quakes shake Tokyo
A series of moderate undersea earthquakes shook the Tokyo region early yesterday, including one with a preliminary magnitude of 5.3, the Meteorological Agency said. There was no danger of a tsunami from the quakes, the agency said. The magnitude 5.3 quake struck just off the eastern coast of Chiba Prefecture at around 4:15am according to the agency. It swayed buildings in the capital for about 20 seconds. Three milder temblors followed within hours. A magnitude 5 earthquake rattled the region at 8:20am. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage from the quakes.
Terror suspect wounded
A top Indonesian terror suspect and a Filipino militant were reportedly wounded during a fierce gunbattle with troops on Jolo island last week, military chief of staff General Hermogenes Esperon said yesterday. Indonesian militant Dulmatin and Abu Sayyaf commander Umbra Jumdail were reportedly wounded during the clash near Jolo's townships of Maimbung and Indanan, Esperon said, citing reports from troops and villagers. "It's not yet confirmed, but it's very likely," Esperon said. Dulmatin and another Indonesian militant, Umar Patek, were reportedly given sanctuary on Jolo by Abu Sayyaf commanders. The two pair, believed to be key operatives of the Jemaah Islamiyah terror network, have long been hunted by US, Philippine and Indonesian authorities for allegedly helping mastermind the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings that killed 202 people.
Transport budget increased
The transportation budget will be increased by 64 percent to US$1.7 billion next year, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said yesterday. The money will go toward improving and building airports, especially in remote and disaster-prone areas, and toward flight safety and services, he said in a state of the union address. Funds also will be used to improve railway lines on Java and Sumatra, as well as sea transportation in 18 provinces across the country, he said. The government has been struggling to win back international confidence in its transportation system after two jetliners crashed earlier this year, killing more than 120 people.
Soup threat for dogs
If it was up to New Delhi City Councilor Mohan Prashad Bharadwaj, the city's stray dogs would find themselves in hot water -- soup to be precise. Shipping the thousands of strays to South Korea, where dog meat is widely consumed in soup, was one idea he has proposed to deal with the problem, the Hindustan Times reported yesterday. Tens of thousands of strays live in New Delhi.
■ SIERRA LEONE
Opposition lead in poll