Van crash injures 13
Officials say a minivan ran through a crowded intersection and struck pedestrians in Kyoto yesterday, injuring 13 people. Some were critically hurt, including the vehicle’s driver and the only passenger. Rescue officials say the minivan entered a main intersection in Gion, Kyoto’s main geisha district, after ignoring a traffic light, knocking over pedestrians and smashing into an electric pole before stopping. The area was packed with tourists and cherry blossom viewers. Eight of the 11 injured pedestrians were in critical condition. Six people had cardiac arrests, including the 29-year-old driver and a passenger who had to be pulled out of the wreck.
US shooting shocks parents
Parents say the shooting deaths of two Chinese students near the University of Southern California (USC) on Wednesday was a concern, but will not deter them from seeking a US education for their children. Students and education consultants say the shootings in Los Angeles were isolated. One parent, Wu Qing, yesterday said that although she is worried, her 18-year-old son would continue his studies at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. According to US-based Institute of International Education, China sent nearly 160,000 students to US colleges last year, more than any other country. USC has about 2,500 Chinese students. It’s within a half-a-kilometer of neighborhoods that have been plagued with crime.
Highway collision kills 23
Twenty-three people were killed and three injured yesterday morning when a bus and truck collided on a highway in Anhui Province, local authorities said, highlighting the treacherous conditions on the nation’s roads. Photographs of the accident in Xiao County showed half of the bus was completely destroyed and the truck had landed in a nearby ditch, its front end also pulverized after the head-on collision. The pictures showed bodies scattered on the road.
Nation on full alert
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda yesterday said the nation was on full alert against North Korea’s planned rocket launch. “We want to seek their self-restraint until the last minute,” Noda told reporters as he arrived for talks with a special taskforce set up to handle Tokyo’s response to the planned launch. “But we want to be fully prepared for any possible contingency.” Tokyo has deployed missile defense systems to intercept and destroy the rocket if it looks set to fall on Japan, much as it did in 2009 before Pyongyang’s last long-range rocket launch.
Indian fishermen freed
Twenty-six Indian fishermen held in prison for more than two years for violating territorial waters were released yesterday, officials said. The release, described as a “goodwill gesture,” comes days after President Asif Ali Zardari met Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for lunch in New Delhi. “We have released 26 Indian fishermen from our jail on the instructions of the government,” said Nazeer Husain Shah, superintendent of the Malir district prison in Karachi. Officials say at least 450 Indian fishermen are still in Pakistani jails, while India has more than 150 Pakistani fishermen in its prisons. Jail officials handed the Indians gifts before they boarded a bus to Lahore, from where they will be handed over to the authorities in India.