NATO soldier killed
One NATO soldier and several insurgents have been killed in a firefight in eastern Afghanistan, the US military said yesterday, as Taliban-linked violence spirals weeks before elections. Troops with the coalition International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) came under fire from small arms and rocket-propelled grenades as they tried to search a house on Friday in the east of the country, the military said. “It was during this exchange that one ISAF soldier was killed,” the statement released early yesterday said, without revealing the nationality of the dead soldier or the exact location of the clash.
■PAPUA NEW GUINEA
6.2 quake strikes offshore
An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.2 struck off Papua New Guinea’s island of Bougainville yesterday, but there were no immediate reports of damage, seismologists said. The tremor, which struck at 11:42am, was about 80km west of Arawa city at a depth of 65km, according to the US Geological Survey.
Floods, landslides kill four
At least four people died and five were reported missing after a new spell of torrential rain unleashed floods and landslides in Japan overnight, police said yesterday. The weekend tragedy came after a series of landslides and floods earlier this week killed 15 people. A 73-year-old man was found dead after a mudslide struck his home late on Friday in Fukuoka prefecture, located in Kyushu, a police official said. A 54-year-old woman was found dead after her car was swept into an irrigation channel, while a 60-year-old man died after falling in a street ditch, the Fukuoka police said. A 67-year-old man also died in the southern prefecture of Nagasaki, local police said.
CCTV starts Arabic channel
Beijing launched an international Arabic-language TV channel yesterday as part of an ambitious program to promote the country’s views abroad. State-run CCTV said the new service would broadcast news, entertainment and education programs 24 hours a day to a potential audience of about 300 million people in 22 countries. CCTV vice president Zhang Changming (張長明) said in a statement the channel “would serve as an important bridge to strengthen communication and understanding between China and the Arab countries.” The network, which already broadcasts in English, French and Spanish, also has plans for a Russian-language service.
Rockfall kills three
Three people were killed and 12 injured yesterday when a rockfall hit a bridge in Wenchuan, the epicenter of the devastating earthquake last year, state media reported. The rocks fell from a mountain on to the Chediguan bridge, sending vehicles plunging into the Minjiang River, the Xinhua news agency said, quoting a local official. The bridge played an important role in the reconstruction of Wenchuan and reopened in May, one year after the catastrophe which left 87,000 dead or missing in Sichuan Province. More than 10,000 vehicles cross the bridge every day, Xinhua said. In related news, At least four people were killed and 50 missing after a landslide on Thursday in Kangding, Sichuan.
Beat the heat with dog meat
The government is promoting the virtue of dog meat as a way to beat the summer heat and says customers are packing Pyongyang restaurants that serve the traditional dish. The North has been hosting dog meat food contests to help develop the traditional cuisine, Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said yesterday. Dog meat is called dangogi, or “sweet meat,” a euphemism coined by Kim Il-sung, the country’s founder, in the early 1980s. Dangogi-jang is dog meat soup. “Our ancestors believed hot dangogi soup consumed during the dog days of summer helped prevent diseases from malnutrition and bolster stamina,” KCNA said, citing a 17th century book on herbal medicine. “Dangogi-jang is becoming popular even among Koreans living abroad and foreigners as well,” KCNA said.