Workers untangle trains
Railway workers yesterday untangled two trains that collided at a station 30km northeast of Dhaka, as the death toll from the crash reached 10, with at least 60 people injured. One train was stopped at the station when the second plowed into it from behind, leaving mangled carriages stacked on top of each other. Rescue workers and local people pulled survivors from the wreckage. More than 40 people remain in hospital, many with severe injuries. The accident occurred in Narshingdi on Wednesday afternoon. Amrito Baroi, Narshingdi chief administrator, said the brakes on the approaching train may have failed.
Corruption body rejected
President Benigno Aquino III lashed out on Wednesday at a Supreme Court decision rejecting an investigative body he created to look into alleged corruption during his predecessor’s administration, vowing his anti-graft battle would not be deterred by the setback. The Supreme Court declared on Tuesday that Aquino’s first executive order that created a “Truth Commission” was unconstitutional because it unfairly singled out his predecessor Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s government for a wide-ranging corruption investigation. A majority of the justices on the 15-member tribunal were appointed by Arroyo, who left office in June.
Noble arrested for drugs
A noble who was elected to the revamped parliament last month has been charged with drugs and firearms offenses, officials in Nuku’alofa said yesterday. Lord Tu’ilakepa faces four charges relating to illegal possession of firearms and ammunition and one of possessing an illegal drug, Solicitor General Aminiasi Kefu said. The nobleman appeared at a closed session of the Fasi Magistrates’ Court yesterday, meaning further details of the allegations against him were unavailable, the Mataingi Tonga online news Web site reported. He was arrested last week after a series of joint police raids in Tonga and Australia. Tu’ilakepa was one of nine nobles elected to the new-look 26-seat parliament late last month.
Rare elephants killed
Three endangered Sumatran elephants have been found dead after their herd rampaged through a village in Banda Aceh, a conservationist and officials said yesterday. The cause of the animals’ deaths is being investigated, but a local conservationist said they might have died after eating poison intended for wild boars as they scavenged for food at village stores. Bakhtiar, an activist with local environmental group Leuser International Foundation, said a herd of elephants had sent villagers fleeing. Bakhtiar said his group and the local authorities are planning to bring tame elephants to the area to help chase any straying herd back into the forest.
Video shows executions
An international human rights group says there is new video evidence linking the military to the summary execution of prisoners during the final stages of the civil war last year. Human Rights Watch said yesterday that contents of a five-minute video clip aired by Britain’s Channel 4 television last month warrants a UN investigation. The video was an extension of a short clip aired by the station last year showing blindfolded, naked men being shot at close range. The latest video shows the naked body of a young woman identified by Tamil media as “Isaippriya,” a news reader with the Tamil Tiger rebel television station.
Snow shuts Eiffel Tower
The biggest snowfall in close to a quarter of a century forced Paris’ Eiffel Tower and airports to shut briefly on Wednesday. An exceptionally heavy afternoon snowstorm paralyzed the bus network, snarled up roads and motorways and even disrupted the underground train network. Meteo France weather forecasting agency said was the biggest fall of snow since 1987. “This is marvelous. I didn’t think it could snow so much in Paris and that these gardens could be so beautiful,” said Didier Mathus, one of many members of parliament enchanted by a snowfall of rare intensity for the heart of Paris.
Road plan approved
Moscow will go through with plans to build a highway to Saint Petersburg through a disputed forest, whose protection was backed by two reporters were brutally attacked over their coverage, the Vedomosti business daily reported yesterday. The road’s construction was initially put on hold by President Dmitry Medvedev, who called for a review of the contested plan. However, a final decision on the construction has been reached, with the announcement expected during Medvedev’s talks with visiting French Prime Minister Francois Fillon, Vedomosti said. The daily said France was taking part in the project through the Vinci firm.
Young widower kept in jail
A British man who allegedly arranged the killing of his wife during their South African honeymoon is in jail following his first appearance in extradition proceedings. A judge initially said on Wednesday that Shrien Dewani, 30, could be freed on bail, but that was revoked when South African authorities appealed the ruling. It was unclear how soon the High Court would hear arguments on the appeal. Dewani surrendered to police on Tuesday in Bristol. His family has dismissed the allegations against him as “totally ludicrous.”
Book back after 64 years
A California woman is proving it’s never too late to make things right. Hazel Severson, 95, of Sacramento says a book borrowed by her late husband from an Amador County library in 1936 was found by a friend while they were sorting through things for a garage sale. She returned the book and offer to pay the overdue fee — US$2,701. Severson told the Sacramento Bee that she and her husband Howard were newlyweds when he checked out Seaplane Solo, about Sir Francis Chichester’s 1930 solo flight across the Tasman Sea. The library didn’t charge her a late fee, though it did accept a donation when she returned the book.
Man arrested in bomb plot
A 21-year-old recent convert to Islam tried to blow up a military recruiting station in Maryland on Wednesday, ensnaring himself in a sting operation orchestrated by the FBI, officials said. Antonio Martinez, who now calls himself Muhammad Hussain, thought he was detonating a real car bomb at the Catonsville recruiting office, but he had actually been interacting with the FBI, and the bomb was a fake. Martinez faces charges of attempted murder of federal officials and attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction.
FOX HUNT: To suppress dissent, Chinese living abroad that Xi Jinping sees as threats are told to either return to China or commit suicide, Christopher Wray said Chinese agents have been pursuing hundreds of Chinese nationals living in the US in an effort to force their return, as part of a global campaign against the country’s diaspora, known as Operation Fox Hunt, FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Tuesday. In a speech about the security threat posed by China, during which he said Beijing’s counterintelligence work was the “greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property, and to our economic vitality,” Wray gave the example of one Fox Hunt target who was given a choice of going back to China or killing themselves. Fox Hunt was launched
‘WOULD NOT COMPLY’: The company’s user data are kept in Singapore and it would not turn the data over to Beijing even if asked, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said Social media app TikTok has distanced itself from Beijing after India banned 59 Chinese apps in the country, according to a correspondence seen by Reuters. In a letter to the Indian government dated on Sunday last week and seen by Reuters on Friday, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said the Chinese government has never requested user data, nor would the company turn it over if asked. TikTok, which is not available in China, is owned by China’s ByteDance, but has sought to distance itself from its Chinese roots to appeal to a global audience. Along with 58 other Chinese apps, including Tencent
‘FIGHT FOR FREEDOM’: Hong Kongers will never bow to Beijing, the advocate said, while the US’ envoy to the territory called China’s new security law a ‘tragedy’ The world must stand in solidarity with Hong Kongers after Beijing imposed sweeping national security legislation on the semi-autonomous territory, advocate Joshua Wong (黃之鋒) said yesterday, vowing to continue campaigning for democracy. Wong, one of the territory’s most prominent young advocates and a figure loathed by Beijing, was speaking outside a court where he and fellow advocates are being prosecuted for involvement in last year’s pro-democracy protests. China last week enacted sweeping security legislation for the restless territory, banning acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. The legislation has sent a wave of fear through the territory, and criminalized dissenting
A squad of gun-toting police officers patrolled Myanmar’s sacred site of Bagan under the cover of night, taking on plunderers snatching relics from temples forsaken by tourists due to COVID-19 restrictions. Each evening as dusk falls, about 100 officers fan out across the plain of Bagan covering 50km2, sweeping flashlights over the crumbling monuments to scour for intruders. “Our security forces are patrolling day and night,” Police Lieutenant Colonel Sein Win told reporters. “We have it under control for the moment, but it’s a challenge.” The central Burmese city is strewn with more than 3,500 ancient monuments — stupas, temples, murals and sculptures