Tibetan monk self-immolates
An 18-year-old Tibetan Buddhist monk set himself on fire to protest Chinese rule — becoming at least the 21st to do so in the past year — and more than 1,000 people were trying to prevent police from taking his body, an overseas Tibet support group reported yesterday. Nangdrol self-immolated on Sunday outside his monastery in Aba County, where most of the immolations have occurred, the Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet said. The group said Nangdrol shouted slogans for Tibetan independence and for the Dalai Lama. Nangdrol’s is the latest in what seem to be increasing numbers of immolations that have galvanized other monks and lay people to protest Chinese government controls over Tibetan society and the Buddhist religion. More than 1,000 people gathered at the monastery overnight to stand guard over the body, the group said.
Cold snap kills children
More than 40 people, most of them children, have frozen to death in what has been the coldest winter in years, a health official said yesterday. Health ministry spokesman Ghulam Sakhi Kargar said the government has recorded 41 deaths from freezing in three provinces — Kabul, Ghor and Badakhshan. All but three or four of those deaths were children, he said. Twenty-four of the deaths were in Kabul, mostly in camps for people who have fled fighting elsewhere in the country. The UN and the US aid agency have started distributing extra blankets, tarps and fuel to people living in 40 camps throughout the city, the US embassy said in a statement last week. Kargar said the ministry was establishing mobile clinics in response.
China tries to stop survey
The country’s coast guard was ordered by a Chinese ship to stop a marine survey in disputed waters on the weekend, officials said yesterday, the latest territorial row between the regional giants. The coast guard vessel was on Sunday conducting a two-day survey in waters about 170km north of Kumejima, part of Okinawa Prefecture, when Chinese authorities demanded they stop, the coast guard officials said. Beijing and Tokyo claim exclusive excavation rights of the Shirakaba or Chunxiao gas field, which lies in the disputed area in the East China Sea, where both sides’ economic zones overlap. The Chinese ship “demanded our ship by radio to stop the marine survey aimed at drawing nautical charts,” a coast guard spokesman said. “We replied to them that this was a legitimate activity as we were in Japan’s exclusive economic zone and we have been continuing the survey up until now.”
Aftershocks disinter bones
Constant aftershocks in Christchurch have pushed human remains up from burial plots in one of the quake-ravaged city’s graveyards, a report said on Sunday. In a grim reminder that the ground in Christchurch remains unstable 12 months on from a quake that killed 185 people last year, TV images showed what appeared to be human bones in Bromley Cemetery. The remains, possibly rib and leg bones, were on the top of burial plots found by a group of people visiting the graveyard on Sunday, TV3 reported. One of the group, Cassie, said at least 10 graves were affected. Christchurch City Council told the TV station it was the first report it had received of remains being disinterred by the aftershocks, about 10,000 of which have rocked the city since September 2010.