Huge park planned
Beijing plans to establish its largest national park yet, covering about 10,000km2, in the northwest of the country, state media said yesterday. The Kanas Geological Park, in the remote Xinjiang region, will be expanded from its current 1,000km2, Xinhua news agency reported. The result would be "the world's largest national park," Xinhua said. That claim may be challenged by authorities in Greenland, home to the 972,000km2 National Park of Northeastern Greenland, which was established in 1974.
Temple visitors trampled
At least 12 Hindu devotees were trampled to death on a narrow path leading to a temple in western Gujarat State yesterday, police said. Another seven people were injured in the stampede that occurred during a religious festival in Panchmahal District, nearly 150km south of Ahmadabad senior police officiall Dipandar Trivedi said. The temple is situated on a hilltop. Thousands of people had crowded the narrow path leading to the temple when the stampede occurred, Trivedi said.
Explosion traps miners
One worker was killed and 18 others trapped after a coal mine explosion in Jiangxi Province, officials and state media said yesterday. The blast in the Jianxin Coal mine happened shortly before midnight on Saturday while 283 miners were working in the pit, Xinhua news agency reported. As of yesterday morning, 262 miners had escaped unhurt, while one miner was confirmed killed, two were injured and 18 others remained trapped, a local coal mining official said.
Motorbike bomb kills nine
A suicide bomber on a motorbike detonated explosives in a crowded marketplace near Afghan police, killing nine people and wounding at least 29, officials said. The blast on Saturday killed two police officers and seven civilians in the city of Spin Boldak in the province of Kandahar near the border with Pakistan, a statement from NATO's International Security Assistance force said. NATO evacuated 11 of the wounded victims by helicopter to an alliance-run hospital, while the rest were taken to the Spin Boldak hospital, it said.
Eight killed in cave flood
Six Western tourists and two Thai guides were killed after being swept away by flash floods while exploring a cave at a national park in Surathani Province, police said yesterday. One tourist was still missing. The victims were trekking through the Khao Sok national park in late on Saturday afternoon when a heavy rainfall caused flash floods that sent water surging through the cave, which was near a waterfall, said police Lieutenant Colonel Pichan Kanayasiri. The tourists were identified as three women, two men and a child. Another man is still listed as missing.
Stowaway reaches Singapore
Officialls have ordered a probe into how a Palestinian man breached security at its main airport and stowed away on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore, reports said yesterday. Osama R.M. Shublaq stunned the ground crew at Singapore's Changi Airport when he fell out from the wheel well of the Singapore Airline aircraft shortly after it landed late on Thursday, the Star newspaper reported in its online edition. He was dizzy from a lack of oxygen after the 55-minute flight from Kuala Lumpur, but was otherwise unhurt, the report said. Shublaq was detained by police and charged with entering the city-state illegally.
Boy dies from bird flu
A boy died from bird flu in Jakarta, bringing the country's death toll from the virus to 88, the Health Ministry said. The 12-year-old junior high school student from Tangerang, on Jakarta's southwestern outskirts, died on Saturday after being treated for five days at Persahabatan Hospital -- a designed bird-flu hospital in Jakarta -- said Daswir Nurdin of the ministry's bird flu center. "He was reported to have [had] contact with dead chickens close to his school," Nurdin said. He said the boy first developed breathing problems and a fever on Sept. 30 and initially visited a local clinic.
The nation's beloved and influential 79-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej was hospitalized after feeling weak on the right side of his body, the royal palace said. The king was admitted to Bangkok's Siriraj Hospital on Saturday, where tests found "a slightly inadequate blood flow to the brain," a palace statement said. His condition improved after about eight hours of treatment, the statement said. Bhumibol, the world's longest-serving living monarch, is a unifying figure for his country, which usually turns to him in times of crisis even though strictly speaking his powers are limited as a constitutional monarch. There is great concern over the issue of his successor, as some believe that his son and heir apparent, Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, does not command the same measure of respect among the public or the country's elite.
Plane crashes into car
A small plane crashed into a car while landing in windy weather in the south of the country on Saturday. No one was seriously injured, authorities said. Strong winds pushed the Supercab light aircraft from the airport onto a road as the pilot was landing. "I was really shocked," said Tereza Batur, 21, who was driving her Volkswagen Passat when the plane suddenly hit it from the side. The incident occurred near Sinj, 300km southwest of Zagreb. Neither Batur nor her companion in the car were injured. The pilot suffered light head injuries, said Marina Kraljevic Gudelj, a police spokeswoman in Split, the regional center.
Center-left go to polls
Center-left supporters were going to the polls yesterday to elect the leader of a new party and the probable candidate for prime minister to run against conservative billionaire Silvio Berlusconi at the next general election. Rome Mayor Walter Veltroni was widely expected to win the vote to become head of the newly formed Democratic Party, which brings together the two biggest political parties of the center-left. Four other candidates are running, but they are widely believed to stand no chance of outdoing the popular Veltroni. The primary vote comes at a time of trouble for the governing center-left coalition, beset by infighting among partners as different as Christian Democrats and Communists.
Opposition takes lead
A week before an election, the main opposition party, the Civic Platform, moved ahead in an opinion poll on Saturday, the first since its leader beat Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski in a televised debate. Friday night's debate between Civic Platform (PO) leader Donald Tusk and Kaczynski appeared to have marked a turning point in the campaign, commentators said. The EU's biggest ex-communist member is heading for an early parliamentary election on Sunday, and the two largest parties, the PO and the ruling conservative Law and Justice, had been neck-and-neck in opinion polls.
Nine dead after heavy rains
At least nine people died and eight others went missing on Saturday in torrential rains that caused serious damage in and around the capital, national radio reported. President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali gave instructions "to ensure the situation is monitored in all affected regions and to bring necessary help and assistance to the victims in these exceptional climatic conditions," a presidential spokesman said. Torrential rains fell mainly on the north of the country on Saturday, filling formerly dry river beds known as wadis and causing them to overflow.
Gas explosion kills 13
Thirteen people were killed and 23 others injured in a natural gas explosion at an apartment building in the eastern part of the country, Emergency Situations Ministry said, Interfax reported. The ministry earlier said that 11 people had died in Saturday's incident in the city of Dnipropetrovsk. One more body was later discovered under the rubble and another person died in hospital, according to a revised toll from the ministry, Interfax reported. A total of 23 people, including six children, had been hospitalized, the ministry said.
Chavez meets Castro
Ailing President Fidel Castro, who has not appeared in public since July last year, met on Saturday for more than four hours with his ally Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, state TV said. Chavez, on his third visit to the Caribbean country this year, arrived in Havana early on Saturday and will broadcast his weekly radio and TV show from the mausoleum where the remains of guerrilla fighter Ernesto "Che" Guevara are entombed in Santa Clara. Castro, who looked frail in pictures published last month, is not expected to appear on the show in person. No images of his meeting with Chavez were released.
Cocaine bust surge
Authorities seized 2.6 tonnes of cocaine on Saturday in a shipment headed for Mexico, state media reported. The drugs were hidden in a shipment of empty glass containers, the Bolivarian news agency quoted National Guard Commander Freddy Alonso Cardion as saying. The shipment seized in Puerto Cabello, a major seaport, was destined for Mexico, National Guard officials told reporters. Alonso said the bust, and another one on Thursday in northwestern Lara state, bring to about 4 tonnes the amount of cocaine seized in the past few days. The country is a major conduit for Colombian cocaine smuggled to the US and Europe.
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Soldier faces trial
A former US commander at the jail that held former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein will face trial next week on charges of aiding the enemy by providing a cellphone to detainees and acting inappropriately with an interpreter, the military said. Army Lieutenant Colonel William Steele, a reservist, pleaded guilty on Oct. 7 to three of seven charges, which carry a maximum sentence of six years in prison, forfeiture of pay and dismissal from the Army, the military said. He will be tried for aiding the enemy by providing an unmonitored cellphone to prisoners, giving special privileges and acting inappropriately with an interpreter and failing to obey an order.
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Spices help ease the pain
The compound that makes chili peppers spicy can ease the pain that follows groin surgery, Danish researchers reported on Saturday. They said purified capsaicin reduced pain for at least three days following groin hernia surgery without causing any significant side effects. Eske Aasvang and colleagues at the Juliana Marie Center in Copenhagen, Denmark, tested 41 men getting hernia operations. Half got injections of ultra-purified capsaicin, which is odorless and tasteless. The rest got placebos. All of the men also got the painkillers ibuprofen and acetaminophen, the researchers told a meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists in San Francisco.
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Doctors' offices raided
State investigators on Friday raided the homes and offices of two doctors who treated or prescribed drugs for Playboy model-turned-billionaire's widow Anna Nicole Smith before her sudden death in February. California Attorney General Jerry Brown told a news conference no arrests had been made as yet in the criminal investigation his office began on March 30. He declined to identify the doctors under scrutiny. But the state medical board said earlier this year it was investigating at least two physicians in connection with Smith's death.
STEP TOO FAR? The mandatory COVID-19 app has unprecedented access to users’ location data and forces Android users to give access to their picture and video galleries Privacy concerns over Qatar’s COVID-19 contact tracing app, a tool that is mandatory on pain of prison, have prompted a rare backlash and forced officials to offer reassurance and concessions. Like other governments around the world, Qatar has turned to mobile phones to trace people’s movements and track who they come into contact with, allowing officials to monitor infections and alert people at risk of infection. The apps use Bluetooth to ping nearby devices, which can be contacted subsequently if a user they have been near develops symptoms or tests positive for the virus, but the resultant unprecedented access to users’ location
‘CULTURE ERADICATION’: A US official said that Beijing is trying to stamp out the Uighur culture because it is not what the Chinese Communist Party deems ‘Chinese’ The US Congress on Wednesday authorized sanctions against Chinese officials over the mass incarceration of Muslim Uighurs. The US House of Representatives voted with just one dissent in favor of the Uighur Human Rights Act. Rights groups say that at least 1 million Uighurs and other Turkic Muslims in China’s northwestern Xinjiang region have been incarcerated in what Beijing calls “re-education” camps. “If America does not speak out against human rights [violations] in China because of some commercial interest, then we lose all moral authority to speak out on human rights violations any place in the world,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. House Committee
UNITED STATES SpaceX launch delayed SpaceX’s launch to the International Space Station — the first crewed mission to blast off from US soil in almost a decade — was scrubbed on Wednesday due to fears of a lightning strike. With NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley strapped into the Crew Dragon capsule, the launch pad platform retracted and rocket fueling under way, SpaceX made the call to abort. “We had just simply too much electricity in the atmosphere,” NASA chief Jim Bridenstine said. UNITED STATES Chinese ministry checked Twitter has applied a fact check tag to at least two posts made in March by
Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto has admitted damaging ancient Aboriginal rock shelters in Australia’s remote Pilbara region — blasting near the 46,000-year-old heritage site to expand an iron ore mine. Traditional owners said that the culturally significant cave in Juukan Gorge, Western Australia — one of the earliest known sites occupied by Aborigines in Australia — had been destroyed in a “devastating blow” to the community. Explosives were detonated on Sunday near the site in line with state government approvals granted seven years ago, Rio Tinto said in a statement. “In 2013, ministerial consent was granted to allow Rio Tinto to conduct activity