UK businessman killed
A 61-year-old British businessman has been killed by armed robbers, police said yesterday. Three assailants forced their way on Sunday into a home shared by Charles Stuart Maxwell and his Filipina girlfriend in the town of Ubay, on the island of Bohol. “One of the suspects shot the victim twice in the chest,” police said in a report to Manila headquarters, adding that Maxwell died while being taken to the hospital. Police said the robbers took cash and other valuables from his girlfriend, who was unharmed. Bohol is an island frequented by tourists for its beaches and picturesque hills. Police said violent crime in the area was rare.
Tigers reject brief ceasefire
The Tamil Tiger rebels yesterday dismissed the government’s announcement of a two-day ceasefire as insincere and called for a permanent, internationally arranged truce. President Mahinda Rajapaksa had ordered the military to halt its offensives against the cornered rebels for the Sri Lankan new year. The ceasefire was to end yesterday. The military asked tens of thousands of trapped civilians to take advantage of the lull in fighting and flee the rebel-controlled war zone. Only about 44 people crossed into government territory on the first day. A Tamil rebel statement yesterday called the government’s truce an “act of hoodwinking” and said a “ceasefire under the auspices of the international community alone will be effective and productive.”
Six injured in crane crash
Six people were injured yesterday in Tokyo’s Kojimachi business district after a construction crane fell onto the street, media reports said. A 62-year-old woman suffered a cardiac arrest after the 28m crane operating at a construction site fell over onto the street. Another passerby was injured but still conscious, Jiji Press quoted the Tokyo Metropolitan Fire Department as saying. The 38-year-old crane operator suffered a back injury and three workers were rescued out of a truck. The crane was lifting a 6 tonne cylinder used to pour concrete for a building foundation when it fell, blocking three lanes of traffic.
Boat sinks, 12 still missing
Twelve crew members on a fishing boat went missing yesterday after their vessel sank off the coast of Nagasaki Prefecture, media reports said. Ten others were rescued by other fishing boats and taken to a hospital, with one of them suffering an injured finger, Kyodo News Agency reported. The Daiei Maru No 11 was engulfed by high waves about 12.6km from Hirado Island yesterday morning. The coast guard has dispatched seven patrol boats and two aircraft in search for the missing fishermen.
‘Green’ purchases promoted
Local governments have been ordered to buy more energy-efficient products as part of the national drive to curb pollution and combat global warming, state press reported yesterday. The State Council issued a statement on Monday calling for all local governments to place a higher priority on eco-friendly products in their public purchases, the China Daily reported. Governments will be required to strictly follow a compulsory green procurement list, which was published in 2007 and includes nine types of items, such as air conditioners and computers, it said.
US reporter on trial
US-Iranian journalist Roxana Saberi, who has been detained since January, has been put on trial for spying for the US, a spokesman for the judiciary said yesterday. “Yesterday, the first session of the trial was held and she was given an opportunity to speak in the court to present her defense,” Ali Reza Jamshidi told reporters. He said Saberi was accused “for spying for foreigners ... for America.”