A million people evacuated
Authorities have evacuated nearly a million people from the southeast coast of China, where Typhoon Morakot was expected to make landfall later yesterday, state media reported. Xinhua news agency said that 473,300 residents of the coastal province of Zhejiang had been moved, while more than 480,000 people were evacuated from neighboring Fujian Province. More than 35,000 ships have been called in to port as the storm closes in. Parts of Fujian had already reported 30cm of rain from early on Saturday until yesterday morning, Xinhua said.
Quarantine order lifted
Authorities have lifted a quarantine order that was imposed on a remote town of 10,000 people to contain a deadly outbreak of pneumonic plague, a report said yesterday. Local authorities removed the order on Saturday evening after no new cases of the plague were detected in a week, the Beijing News daily said. The outbreak of the highly virulent disease killed three people in Qinghai Province.
Activists protest crackdown
Pro-democracy activists protested yesterday against Beijing’s recent crackdown on dissidents — an apparent attempt to stifle opposition ahead of the 60th anniversary of communist rule on Oct. 1. Clutching a banner that said: “Protest the Chinese Communist Party’s violation of human rights,” the demonstrators chanted: “Release all dissidents” outside the Chinese government’s liaison office in the territory. “We are trying to use the power of non-governmental organizations in the freest place in China to awaken the conscience of the whole race,” Legislator Albert Ho (何俊仁) said.
Three killed along border
Troops killed three Islamic militants along the de facto Kashmir border, thwarting the seventh attempt by rebels to enter from Pakistan in a week, the army said on Saturday. “Soldiers have killed three more militants along the Line of Control in north Kashmir,” an army spokesman said, referring to the frontier that divides Kashmir. “Our soldiers are on high alert following repeated attempts by militants to enter our area,” the spokesman said in Srinagar. The army said attempts to cross the ceasefire line normally increase in the summer as the snow melts in the mountain passes.
Landslide strikes hamlets
The entire population of three hamlets was feared killed in a landslide in the northern state of Uttarakhand, the police said yesterday. “We have so far recovered 19 bodies, at least 26 people are still buried in the debris,” an official at the police control room in Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh district said by telephone. He said it was unlikely that there were any survivors. Heavy rains triggered the landslide in the Himalayan region about 450km west of Uttarakhand capital Dehradun on Saturday. The entire population of three villages — La, Jhegla and Lelu Nehar — was feared killed by rubble that buried their homes. Rescue workers were digging through rocks and rubble with heavy hammers and shovels, the police official said.
Two killed in restive south
Suspected Islamic separatist militants have killed two villagers in separate shootings in the restive south, police said yesterday. A 47-year-old village chief assistant was shot dead in front of his house in Pattani Province on Saturday evening. A 27-year-old man, also an assistant to a village chief, was shot and killed yesterday morning as he drove his wife to a market in Yala Province, police said. His wife was slightly injured.