Explosion kills five
An explosion and fire killed at least five people, left two missing and injured more than 100 at a chemical plant in central Henan Province yesterday, state media said. The blast ripped through the plant owned by the Luoran chemical dye company in Luoyang city in the early hours yesterday, killing five night shift workers, Xinhua news agency reported. Two other night shift workers remained missing, while more than 100 local residents were injured, most of them apparently suffering from smoke inhalation.
Senior begins jail term
An 81-year-old man has begun a two-year jail term for the attempted rape of his family’s maid, a news report said yesterday. Wong Pak-sum, who was jailed after a High Court hearing on Tuesday, is believed to be the oldest man to be convicted of the offense in the former British colony. He assaulted the 36-year-old maid after being left alone with her in the family’s flat in Hong Kong’s Tai Po district in October.
Street level air worsens
Street-level air pollution in the busiest districts has soared over the past four years, official data has shown, despite a government campaign to curb vehicle emissions. The government recorded a total of 1,066 hours of “very high” air pollution, equal to more than 44 days, in three main city districts in the first half of this year — a six-fold jump compared to the same period in 2005. The number of such hours recorded above street level in the same districts however dropped by more than half over the same period, the data showed. A change in wind direction and the closure of factories could account for the improvement.
7.8 quake rocks Fiordland
The most powerful earthquake to hit the country in 78 years rocked southern regions yesterday, but there were no immediate reports of casualties or major damage. Seismologists of the official GNS Science organisation put the quake at 7.8 on the Richter scale. It was followed by an aftershock measuring 6.1. The quake was centred off the coast 100km southwest of the lakeside resort town Te Anau in Fiordland, but GNS Science said it was felt more than 1,400km away in the North Island’s Taranaki Province. With a focal depth of 12km below the surface, it shook items off the shelves of supermarkets in Queenstown, toppled ornaments and cracked walls and cut power supplies in several towns.
UK named in Web attacks
A Vietnamese computer security firm believes Britain was the likely origin of last week’s cyber attacks that crippled major US and South Korean Web sites, Seoul officials said yesterday. The Korea Communications Commission said the information came from Vietnamese firm Bach Khoa Internetwork Security. “The [British] server appears to have controlled compromised handler servers” which spread viruses, said Park Cheol-soon, a network protection team leader of the commission. “However, it needs more investigation to confirm whether this server was the final attacker server or not.”
Nurse guilty of ‘golf rage’
A golfer who beat a fellow player around the head with an eight-iron after an outbreak of “golf rage” was jailed for nine months on Tuesday. Harold Stafford, 54, a psychiatric nurse, launched the attack on Barry Barnes after accusing him of striking his ball at a golf course in Bedfordshire, England. During his trial at Luton crown court, Stafford claimed that he had acted in self-defense after Barnes, also 54, racially abused him. Barnes was left with bruising to his eyes, as well as cuts and bruises to his chest, back and arms.