Typhoon kills four
A powerful typhoon is moving away from northern Philippines after killing at least four people even though it did not make landfall. Office of Civil Defense chief Benito Ramos said slow-moving Typhoon Muifa was packing sustained winds of 175kph and gusts of 210kph. It is moving away from the eastern coast of Luzon yesterday and heading toward southern Taiwan and Japan. Ramos said two fishpond workers drowned when their boat overturned north of Manila. Two children also died in a landslide amid fierce rain and wind in a sand quarrying site in Bohol over the weekend.
Prince offers to pay
The crown prince has offered use of his personal assets to settle a dispute with a German firm, which had impounded a plane he uses as part of a long-running battle with the Thai government. German authorities seized the Boeing 737 used by Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn on July 12 as part of an ongoing dispute over payments between construction firm Walter Bau AG and the Thai government. The company says the plane belongs to the government. Thailand says it is the property of Vajiralongkorn. A statement issued on Sunday by the prince’s office said he did not want relations between the two nations to suffer, so he “has granted his personal assets to be used in solving the dispute.”
Singh calls for cooperation
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh appealed to the opposition to help pass crucial legislation on corruption and land acquisition on the opening of a new session of parliament yesterday. Parliament’s 39-day monsoon session is expected to debate or approve 32 new laws, including the hard-fought Lokpal Bill, which if passed will arm a national ombudsman with powers to punish corrupt politicians and officials. “My appeal to the opposition is let us unite on this occasion to tackle jointly, collectively major problems that our nation is faced with,” Singh told reporters. Despite Singh’s plea, the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party is expected to attack the government over a string of recent corruption scandals.
Train collision kills one
Two passenger trains collided head-on in West Bengal on Sunday, killing at least one person and leaving many trapped in the wreckage, a local official said. The engine of the Guwahati-Bangalore express derailed as it collided with a local train in Malda District, about 350km north of the state capital, Kolkata. Malda magistrate Rajesh Sinha said the engines of the trains caught fire after the collision and some carriages tumbled into a paddy field next to the line. “Some of the carriages are twisted and many passengers are trapped,” he said, adding that one person had been confirmed dead. Twelve passengers had been pulled out of six mangled coaches and rushed to the government hospital in Malda, he said.
Labor amnesty launched
The government has started legalizing up to 2 million immigrant workers in a massive amnesty program aimed at managing the waves of foreigners seeking menial jobs unwanted by Malaysians. The program launched yesterday includes fingerprinting each immigrant for improved security. Those who fail to fulfill requirements could be deported. Authorities hope the amnesty will make it easier for foreigners to fill labor shortages for low-paying jobs at palm oil plantations, factories, construction sites and restaurants.