Blast kills six at cafe
At least six people were killed and 38 injured when a powerful explosion hit an Internet cafe in Kaili City, Guizhou Province, on Saturday evening, reducing it to ruins, state media reported. The blast ripped through the cafe at about 11pm, state television said yesterday, citing local police. The broadcast showed rescue workers pulling victims from the devastated building and rushing the injured to hospital. The blast may have been triggered by “inflammable and explosive materials” kept in a nearby storage room, the report said. Police were still investigating the cause of the explosion, which also smashed windows in neighboring buildings.
King’s health raises concern
The country is marking the 83rd birthday of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world’s longest reigning monarch, but elaborate celebrations fail to mask concern over his health and the future of the royal institution. Bhumibol delivered his annual birthday speech yesterday, sounding what has become his usual call for unity to keep the country happy and prosperous in the face of the sometimes violent political conflict it has faced in recent years. The king made his brief remarks at the ceremonial Grand Palace in a slow and rasping voice, reflecting his frailty. Thousands of flag-waving citizens cheered his car’s journey from Siriraj Hospital, to which he was admitted in September last year, with a lung inflammation. There has been no detailed explanation of his extended stay.
Police break up protest
Police fired tear gas and water yesterday at protesters at an opposition-backed rally in Kuala Lumpur. Xavier Jayakumar, a legislator in central Selangor State, said police fired tear gas and water canon at a crowd of thousands. He said at least five people were also arrested. Reporters at the scene, who declined to be named, said rounds of tear gas sent people running into side streets near the big National Mosque before they regrouped. The protesters, including several opposition parliamentarians, gathered to speak out against the federal government’s interference of water management in Selangor, Xavier said. Selangor is run by the national opposition People’s Alliance, of which Xavier is a member. Gatherings of five or more people need police permission and authorities often crack down on protests.
Man deported for ‘terror’ link
An Indonesian man linked to the extremist Jemaah Islamiyah outfit has been deported, the Jakarta Post reported yesterday. Fadli Sadama arrived at Jakarta airport on Saturday evening under heavy guard, the Post reported. Sadama was suspected of having links with a local “terror” network and the Pattani United Liberation Organization separatist group in South Thailand, National Anti-Terror Agency director Petrus Golose was quoted as saying. “Fadli planned to train ... before returning to Indonesia to plot acts of terrorism in Pekanbaru, Riau Province, and in the Mount Anak Krakatau area with foreign tourists as his main target,” Golose added. Reports have said that Sadama was arrested on Oct. 13 while traveling to Johor and was found to be carrying two guns. Sadama is believed to be linked to a group suspected of killing a police officer in a spectacular bank robbery in the capital of Indonesia’s North Sumatra, Medan, in August.