PAPUA NEW GUINEA
Hundreds rescued from ship
About 100 people are feared trapped inside a ferry that sank in rough weather on Thursday off the country’s northeast coast with about 350 people on board, a rescue official said yesterday. Rescuers plucked 246 people from the sea after the MV Rabaul Queen was hit by three large waves and quickly sank, Rony Naigu, a rescue official from the maritime safety authority, said yesterday. He said about 100 people were thought to have been trapped inside. Naigu, who spent Thursday at the scene, said survivors told how the ferry rolled and sank in deep water after it was hit by waves.
Chinese skipper sentenced
The skipper of a Chinese fishing boat, arrested and tried in Nagasaki for operating illegally in Japanese waters, has been given a suspended six-month jail term, a local official said yesterday. Nagasaki District Court sentenced Zhong Jinyin (鍾進音), 39, to six months imprisonment, suspended for three years, and ordered him to pay a fine of ￥1 million (US$13,000) in the ruling given on Tuesday, the official said. Zhong paid the fine on the day of the ruling, the official said. It was not not immediately clear whether Zhong remained in Japan or returned to China. The fisherman was arrested on Dec. 20 near islands off southwest Japan.
Train hits bulldozer, derails
A railway official said a train hit a bulldozer and derailed in Assam State, killing three passengers. S. Hajong said at least 16 people were injured when nine coaches of the train derailed after the crash at an unmanned crossing. The bulldozer got stuck while crossing the track, Hajong said yesterday. Local villagers and police pulled all the passengers from the derailed cars. The injured were taken to hospitals in nearby Gauhati, Assam’s capital.
Megaupload appeal fails
A court refused an appeal by the founder of online file-sharing site Megaupload.com to be freed on bail yesterday, agreeing with prosecutors there was a risk he would attempt to flee before an extradition hearing. Kim Dotcom, a German national also known as Kim Schmitz and Kim Tim Jim Vestor, was returned to custody until Feb. 22 ahead of a hearing on an extradition application by the US. Prosecutors say Dotcom was the leader of a group that has netted US$175 million since 2005 by copying and distributing music, movies and other copyrighted content without authorization. Dotcom’s lawyers say the company simply offered online storage and that he strenuously denies the charges and will fight extradition.
Jolo battle continues
Troops battled Muslim extremists on a remote southern island yesterday where a day earlier three of Southeast Asia’s top terror suspects were killed in a US-backed air strike, the army said. Soldiers who approached the bombed area on the outskirts of a small village on Jolo island after the raid faced dogged resistance from surviving militants, regional military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Randolph Cabangbang said. “There is intermittent fire, the area is not yet secured,” Cabangbang told GMA television in a telephone interview. The troops had moved into the scene of the strike in an effort to retrieve the bodies of the three senior militants who were killed, as well as to take on the others who survived Thursday’s aerial assault.