Militants kill five people
Police said suspected militants killed five people and wounded 11 in three overnight attacks in the insurgency-plagued south. Police Colonel Chaiwat Nittayawimon said one soldier and one paramilitary ranger were killed overnight on Wednesday when about 10 suspected militants attacked their operations base in Songkhla Province. Another ranger was wounded. Police did not say if the attackers stole any weapons. In two other attacks late on Wednesday and early yesterday in other southern provinces, suspected insurgents killed three, including a four-year-old girl, and wounded 10.
Pilot refused to give up spot
A pilot’s refusal to give up his landing slot to a passenger plane that issued a distress call to say it was running out of fuel almost caused a disaster, state media reported yesterday. Privately owned Juneyao Airlines confirmed one of its pilots refused to give way when a Qatar Airways plane contacted air traffic controllers at Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport, asking permission to land immediately. The pilot of the Qatar plane said it had just five minutes’ worth of fuel left after it was diverted from Shanghai Pudong International Airport, the Global Times newspaper reported, adding that a disastrous accident was only narrowly averted. The Qatar plane was traveling from Doha when it was ordered to divert due to a thunderstorm on Aug. 13. Air traffic controllers at Hongqiao ordered the Juneyao pilot to circle the airport and allow the Qatar plane to land first, but the pilot refused. The Global Times said the Juneyao pilot claimed he had been waiting “a long time” and needed to land “right now,” citing comments posted online. Juneyao Airlines said the pilot and crew had been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation, but that the “rumors on the Internet are far from the truth.”
Would-be bombers set free
President Hamid Karzai met a group of would-be child suicide bombers aged as young as seven on Wednesday and ordered their release on compassionate grounds. The 20 or so youngsters were recruited individually by the Taliban, often at religious schools, and promised virgins in paradise after they blew themselves up, a statement from the presidential palace said. However, all of the group were either arrested or surrendered to security forces before they could strike. Officials accuse the Taliban of using an increasing number of children in suicide attacks, as they are easily recruited and difficult to detect.
Mongol killer executed
A truck driver was executed for killing an ethnic Mongol herder in a case that sparked Inner Mongolia’s largest demonstrations in 20 years. Xinhua news agency said in a brief report that Li Lindong (李林東) was executed on Aug. 18. The report, dated Aug. 19, was posted to a regional news Web site and appeared to not be widely circulated. The herder, Mergen, was killed on May 10 while he and others were blocking the road through their village to protest noise and pollution produced by coal trucks transiting the grasslands. Police said Li ran over Mergen and then dragged his body for 145m before he died. His death and that of another Mongol in a clash with Han coalminers sparked protests across the sprawling northern pastureland demanding justice and greater protection for Mongol culture and the nomadic herding lifestyle.