Bridge collapse kills five
Five people were killed and another 15 injured when a section of a partially constructed New Delhi metro bridge gave way suddenly early yesterday, Anuj Dayal, spokesman for the Delhi Metro Rail Corp told reporters. The accident occurred when a pillar supporting a part of the carriageway collapsed, he said. “It appears that there is a problem in the design of the pillar of the bridge,” he said. “Two of the injured are in a serious condition” while some workers had been discharged after first aid.
Filipina battling swine flu
A Filipina maid was fighting for her life in hospital yesterday in the territory’s most severe case of swine flu so far, Department of Health officials said. The 37-year-old woman arrived from the Philippines on June 28 and fell ill shortly afterwards. She was admitted to hospital five days ago and tested positive for swine flu on Friday. Her pregnant employer was also admitted to hospital for observation after she complained of flu symptoms, officials said.
Choir contest canceled
A world choir contest has been canceled after more than a dozen Indonesian participants were found to have swine flu, health authorities and organizers said yesterday. Fourteen people — 13 Indonesians and one South Korean —attending the contest tested positive for the A(H1N1) influenza virus on Saturday and yesterday, the health ministry said. It forced organizers to call off the rest of the contest, which was to run until Thursday in South Kyeongsang Province. Organizers were working yesterday to send home hundreds of foreign contestants. “We feel really sorry that we had to cancel this great event. But it’s inevitable for the sake of public health,” said Kang Mal-rim, an organizer of the South Kyeongsang Province government.
Pickpocket gang nabbed
Police have detained 23 Philippine nationals, believed to be part of a pickpocket syndicate that has been active in Kuala Lumpur, reports said on Saturday. Police arrested eight men and six women as they were targeting a victim at a shopping complex on Thursday, the Star daily reported. Police caught five other syndicate members at another shopping complex, the paper said. Police formed a task force to investigate the pickpocket cases after receiving at least five reports daily over the past week, a senior officer said. Five more syndicate members, including the leader, were still being sought.
Asylum seekers stopped
The navy stopped a boat carrying more than 70 suspected asylum seekers about 32km northwest of Christmas Island, where the government detains and processes refugee applicants, Home Affairs Minister Brendan O’Connor said in a statement. The 73 passengers were being held yesterday on the island, which is about 2,575km northwest of Western Australia. There nationalities were not given.
Flash flood kills hikers
Seven hikers were killed and a dozen more are missing after being swept away by a flash flood in a scenic gorge near Chongqing on Saturday, Xinhua news agency reported yesterday. About 400 rescuers worked overnight at the Tanzhangxia Gorge to locate 16 injured members of the 35-person group.
Migrants’ camp destroyed
Bulldozers escorted by riot police yesterday leveled a camp at the port of Patras, where hundreds of migrants had lived in growing tension with city residents, a photographer said. About 100 police took part in the early morning operation in the camp occupied by mainly Afghan migrants that left standing only the migrants’ makeshift mosque and a tent used by volunteer doctors. The camp was mostly empty as many migrants had apparently been forewarned, but police took away around 100 people including some 30 minors who were boarded on buses and taken to a local hotel according to officials.
Five people gored by bulls
Five runners have been gored and six have received other injuries at a packed weekend running of the bulls at the San Fermin festival. One man was caught in the chest and legs when a large bull became separated from the pack on the slippery cobblestone streets leading to the bullring. The bull, a Miura weighing 575kg, jerked the bleeding runner upward and then rolled him along the ground in the entrance to the ring. The sixth running of the bulls was held two days after a 27-year-old man was gored to death, the first such fatality since 1995.
Opposition boycotts poll
The opposition has called for a boycott of yesterday’s presidential vote and made accusations of fictitious voting lists in the Central African country overshadowed by its much larger neighbor, the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Longtime President Denis Sassou-Nguesso faces 12 opponents but six of them — including main challenger Mathias Dzon — are calling for voters in the oil-rich nation to stay home. Sassou-Nguesso claimed power in 1979 after a coup and ruled until a 1992 election defeat. He seized power again in 1997 with help from Angolan troops. In 2002, he rewrote the Constitution to give more power to the presidency and was re-elected.
Knowledge of Bible drops
Knowledge of the Bible is in decline in Britain, with fewer than one in 20 people able to name all Ten Commandments and youngsters viewing the Christian holy book as “old fashioned,” a survey said yesterday. Forty percent did not know that the tradition of exchanging Christmas presents originated from the story of the Wise Men bringing gifts for the infant Jesus, while 60 percent could not name anything about the Good Samaritan, the Durham University study found. Youngsters were particularly disillusioned, telling researchers that the Bible was “old fashioned,” “irrelevant” and for “Dot Cottons” — a reference to the church-going EastEnders’ character, the National Biblical Literacy Survey 2009 showed.
Prehistoric flints found
A Swiss archeological mission has found prehistoric flints and skeletons dating back 200,000 years in the desert of Palmyra, local media reported yesterday. The joint Swiss-Syrian team, which has now finished its dig at Al Koum, near Palmyra, said it had found a series of items dating back between 100,000 and 200,000 years, including peculiarly molded flints, which prove the ability of the Transitional Age Homo sapiens to properly use flint tools, Al Thawra Daily reported. The paper quoted the director of antiquities in Palmyra as saying that the most important findings was the remains of a giant camel, double the size of a modern-day camel and which suggests that this kind of camel was native to the region and not imported.
Three police officers killed
Three federal police officers were killed and 18 were wounded on Saturday in attacks attributed to the La Familia Michoacana drug cartel in at least six different cities, police said. The onslaught on six federal police (PFP) bases in the western state of Michoacan was seen as retribution for the arrest on Friday of top La Familia member Arnoldo Rueda. After the arrest, gunmen “tried to rescue him and clashes began, in which 18 PFP members were wounded,” PFP regional chief Rodolfo Ruz told reporters. The three officers who died, Cruz said, were not on base, but in a vehicle close to a car crash on a road when they were attacked by an armed group traveling in a separate vehicle.
Body found in air-con duct
A female body stuffed inside an air-conditioning duct was found on Saturday in a Manhattan skyscraper where a cleaning woman was last seen four days ago. Police discovered the corpse, hidden in a utility room duct, just before 9am as they began searching the 26-story tower for 46-year-old Eridania Rodriguez. The remains have not been officially identified, but police spokesman Paul Browne said investigators presumed the body was that of the Dominican-born Rodriguez, who had been missing since Tuesday night. A medical examiner was on the scene trying to confirm the find and determine how the woman died. Authorities believe she was murdered, but haven’t identified a suspect.
Five killed in boat accident
At least five people were killed when a boat capsized off the coast on Saturday, local authorities said, adding that 26 people aboard the vessel were rescued, but dozens more were missing. The search for bodies and possible survivors was called off for the day because local authorities lacked the necessary equipment, civil protection official Jean-Michel Sabbat said. Five bodies were picked out of the water, Sabbat said, updating an earlier toll that put the number of dead at six. The 26 people that were rescued were taken to Saint-Michel Hospital in Jacmel, a port town close to the shipwreck, he added.
Six more die of swine flu
The Health Ministry reported six new swine flu deaths on Saturday, bringing to 94 the number of people killed by the A(H1N1) virus in South America’s worst-affected country. The number of confirmed infections with the virus rose to 2,929, Argentine Health Minister Juan Manzur said. Argentina is the world’s third worst-affected country in the global pandemic, behind only Mexico, with 121 confirmed deaths, and the US, where the Centers for Disease Control said on Friday the death toll stood at 221.
Robber picks wrong car
Authorities say a parolee who robbed a Michigan bank was caught when he tried to hitch a ride from an undercover police detective. Mark White was arraigned on Friday on charges that include bank robbery and making a false bomb threat. He is being held at the Saginaw County Jail on US$755,000 bond. It was not clear whether White had an attorney. Authorities told the Saginaw News that White flagged down Saginaw Township Detective Scott Jackson on Wednesday after the bank robbery a few blocks away.
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
AUSTRALIAN SITE: China has had a contract with SSC’s Yatharagga station since at least 2011, but the last time it used it was in June 2013. No final date has been given China would lose access to a strategic space tracking station in Western Australia when its contract expires, the facility’s owners said, a decision that cuts into Beijing’s expanding space exploration and navigational capabilities in the Pacific region. The Swedish Space Corp (SSC) has had a contract allowing Beijing access to the satellite antenna at the station since at least 2011. The station is located next to an SSC satellite station primarily used by the US and its agencies, including NASA. The Swedish state-owned company said it would not enter into any new contracts at the Australian site to support Chinese customers after
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
The scarcity of commercial flights landing at Sydney Airport has been a disaster for airlines and workers, but for hobby pilots the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the opportunity of a lifetime. The quieter-than-usual runways mean that private pilots have been given the chance to land at the international airport for the first time. When Sydney Flight College club captain Tim Lindley put out a call, he received an overwhelming response. He eventually organized for 14 light aircraft to fly into Sydney airport on Sunday. “For a lot of the pilots involved, including myself, it was a childhood dream to land in a big