Typhoon leaves 10 dead
At least 10 people were killed and hundreds displaced overnight as Typhoon Chan-hom raked the northern part of the country, rescuers said yesterday. The typhoon blew out into the Philippine Sea off the northeast coast of Luzon island early yesterday after unleashing landslides, floods, and power cuts across the north. Among the worst-hit areas was the mountain town of Kiangan, where nine villagers were crushed to death by large boulders that rolled down slopes on Thursday night, Olive Luces of the civil defense office said. The rocks hit homes and one truck, killing the driver, she said.
Gunman kills self
A gunman suspected of killing a police officer committed suicide yesterday after refusing to surrender during a two-day siege at a suburban house, an unconfirmed report on the TV3 channel said. The man was named earlier as Jan Molenaar, 51, an ex-army reservist described by friends as a “total Rambo” and a “gun nut.” Asked by Television New Zealand to confirm his death, Police Superintendent Sam Hoyle said: “Jan is still at the address — we can’t confirm his status right now.” Two other policemen and a civilian, who reportedly tried to wrest a rifle away from Molenaar when he fired at them, remained in a critical condition in hospital with gunshot wounds.
Teacher in sex trial
A primary school teacher appeared in court yesterday over allegations that he had sex with a pupil 280 times over a two-year period and persuaded her to have an illegal abortion. Chu Chi-wah, 38, met the girl, now 17, while teaching her math and physical education from third to sixth grade at the Catholic school she attended. He began having sex with her in 2004. At the time she was 12 and had moved to a secondary school but was going to Chu’s home daily for private tuition, a court report in the Hong Kong Standard newspaper said yesterday.
Rudd ‘mad’ over hair dryer
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd yesterday denied accusations he lost his temper at troops in Afghanistan because he could not find a hair dryer ahead of a frontline photo opportunity. A rival conservative parliamentarian, just back from Afghanistan, said Rudd threw a “wobbly” during a secret dash into Afghanistan just before Christmas, with troops at the Australian base of Tarin Kowt “going on and on about it.” The alleged incident was widely reported in newspapers yesterday and used by conservative opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull to attack Rudd. “This particular allegation by Turnbull is absolutely ridiculous and absolutely false and designed,” Rudd told local radio.
Officials vow better help
Officials promised yesterday to overhaul emergency call procedures after a coroner faulted the system in a teenager’s 2006 death from thirst while lost in a forest despite making multiple calls to a help line. David Iredale, 17, called the “000” emergency line seven times from his mobile phone after getting lost during a school-organized hike in thick forest in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. He got through to ambulance officials five times, but each time was repeatedly asked for a street address if he wanted an ambulance sent to him. Coroner Carl Milovanovich said in a report on Thursday that ambulance call center staff lacked empathy and the ability to gather information during the calls that could have helped Iredale.