Luxurious pileup ends race
An outing of luxury sportscar enthusiasts ended in an expensive freeway pileup — smashing a stunning eight Ferraris, a Lamborghini and two Mercedes. Police said they believe the accident on Sunday was touched off when the driver of one of the Ferraris tried to change lanes and hit the median barrier. He spun across the freeway and the other cars collided while trying to avoid hitting his car. Video of the crash aired by NTV, a major national network, showed several smashed, bright red Ferraris cluttering the freeway. No one was seriously injured, but police in Yamaguchi Prefecture said 10 people were treated for bruises and cuts. Police said 14 cars were involved altogether.
King calls for unity
King Bhumibol Adulyadej called for his countrymen to unite against the worst floods in half a century. The monarch spoke to mark his 84th birthday and amid deep political divisions plaguing the country. Bhumibol spoke yesterday at the ceremonial Grand Palace for about five minutes after being driven from a nearby hospital where he has been staying for more than two years. More than one-fifth of the nation’s 64 million people have been affected by the ongoing flood crisis, which began in late July. The king was originally hospitalized in September 2009 with a lung inflammation. Official statements said he remained at the hospital for physical therapy and nourishment to recover his strength.
Smog cancels Beijing flights
Beijing authorities cancelled hundreds of flights and shut highways as thick smog descended on the nation’s capital on Sunday and yesterday, reducing visibility at one of the world’s busiest airports. Air quality in Beijing reached “hazardous” levels yesterday, according to the US embassy, which conducts its own measurements, while Xinhua news agency said pollution was likely to reach “dangerous” levels. Nearly 400 flights were canceled on Sunday, state television network CCTV reported. By midday yesterday, Beijing’s main airport — the second busiest in the world — had canceled 132 domestic and five international flights, according to its Web site.
Alleged poachers charged
Six Chinese fishermen accused of poaching endangered sea turtles were charged in a court yesterday, part of efforts to protect threatened wildlife along the country’s coastline. Authorities discovered a batch of giant green turtles after intercepting the fishermen’s speedboat in waters off the western province of Palawan on Friday, military spokesman Major Niel Estrella said. A joint team from the navy, coast guard and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources made the seizure. Nine of the turtles were already dead, but three were released alive back into the waters after being tagged, said Glenda Cadigal, a wildlife specialist at the Palawan Council. Authorities filed criminal charges under the Wildlife Act and Fisheries Code at the Palawan Regional Trial Court in Puerto Princessa, said Adelina Villena, chief lawyer for the government’s Palawan Council for Sustainable Development. If found guilty on all charges, the fishermen would face up to 24 years in prison.
Free press blogger arrested
Authorities arrested a blogger on Sunday who was traveling to Jordan to attend a conference on freedom of the press in the region, her friends said. Razan Ghazzawi, 30, is the latest among scores of bloggers and journalists arrested since the break out of street protests against President Bashar al-Assad. “She was arrested as she presented her passport to immigration at the Syrian border post of Nassib to cross to Jordan,” one of her friends said. Ghazzawi’s last posting on www.razanghazzwi.com reported the release of fellow blogger Hussein Ghreir, freed last week after 37 days in jail. Ghazzawi said Ghreir was lucky because he had spent most of his incarceration in a regular jail, compared with detention at secret police dungeons, home to “the worst kinds of torture.”