Students protest fuel hike
Students are burning tires to block traffic on key roads in Kathmandu and the eastern town of Itahari to protest a government decision to boost the prices of gasoline, diesel and cooking fuel. Police say there have been no reports of violence in the protests yesterday. The government decided on Wednesday to increase prices of various fuels by an average of 10 percent. State-run Nepal Oil Corp imports all oil products from India and says it had to increase the price because the cost of its supplies had increased and because it was facing losses.
Guangdong official sacked
The government has dismissed a member of Guangdong Province Chinese Communist Party Standing Committee for “serious violation of rules,” according to the party’s news Web site, which cited an unidentified spokesman from the Organization Department of the party’s Central Committee. The official was the director of United Front Department of the local party committee, according to the report. It didn’t provide more detail about the allegations against him.
Kim Jong-un visits military
New leader Kim Jong-un has visited an army unit, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said yesterday, as the new leader and head of the armed forces seeks to burnish his military credentials. Soldiers were “enthusiastically cheering in tears of emotion” as Kim toured a military base and took photos with troops, KCNA reported. It was the second reported visit by Kim, the youngest son of late leader Kim Jong-il, to a military unit this month and the latest attempt to help him tighten his grip on power. Kim Jong-un toured the base as his “father would do,” said KCNA, without disclosing the location or date of the visit. Army top brass, including Ri Yong-ho, the chief of the military’s general staff, accompanied him.
Teacher a ‘billionaire’
A high-school teacher, with a monthly salary of around US$700, was astounded when a routine online check of his bank account showed a balance of almost US$10 billion. Parijat Saha, from the town of Balurghat in West Bengal State, said he had checked his State Bank of India account online last Sunday to confirm reception of a 10,000 rupee (US$200) interest payment. “Instead I saw this astronomical amount,” he said by telephone. The account showed a balance of 496 billion rupees. After recovering from the initial shock at becoming an overnight billionaire, Saha, 42, said he immediately called a friend he knew at the bank to point out what was obviously a major accounting error.
The State Bank of India said it was not immediately clear how the amount came to be registered in Saha’s account.
Aid sent to snowbound
Helicopters flew supplies into snowbound villages in the mountainous northeast yesterday as the death toll from heavy snowfalls and avalanches rose to at least 28, an official said. Dozens more people have been injured or are trapped in their homes under up to 3m of snow in Badakhshan Province, where main roads have been cut, making it difficult for rescue workers to reach affected villages. “The latest statistics we have are 28 people killed, 45 injured and 600 cattle killed from seven districts of Badakhshan,” said Abdul Maroof Rasikh, a spokesman for the provincial governor. “This is not the final toll, the fatalities may increase in the coming days.”