Bus falls off bridge, 34 die
A crowded overnight bus plunged off a bridge into a river, killing 34 passengers and injuring 21. The 50-seat bus lost control and ripped through the bridge’s guardrails on Thursday night, diving about 18m and landing on its top, partially submerged in the Serepok River, local official Tran Bao Que said. “I vaguely heard a noise like a gun fire and then people were screaming when the bus was overturned ... I managed to escape through a window which was smashed opened by others,” survivor Nguyen Van Khanh said. Que said it took rescuers four hours to pull the bodies from the bus.Authorities are investigating the cause of the crash.
Anti-Gaga rally in Manila
About 70 Christian youths have chanted “Stop the Lady Gaga concerts” at a rally calling for the singer’s shows in Manila next week to be canceled. Members of a group called Biblemode Youth Philippines said yesterday that they are offended by Lady Gaga’s music and videos, in particular her song Judas, which they say mocks Jesus Christ. Protest leader and former Philippine Congressman Ben Abante says his group plans to file a case against Lady Gaga and concert organizers if she sings Judas at her Manila gigs on Monday and Tuesday. Former Manila mayor Jose Atienza says the singer and organizers can be punished for offending race or religion. Lady Gaga scrapped an Indonesia concert following protests there from conservative Muslims.
Man caught with fetuses
Six human fetuses which had been roasted and covered in gold leaf as part of a black magic ritual have been seized from a British citizen in Bangkok, police said yesterday. Chow Hok Kuen, 28, who is of Taiwanese origin, was arrested with the grisly haul in the city’s Chinatown on Thursday, police said. The corpses had been packed into luggage and were set to be smuggled to Taiwan. The suspect bought the fetuses several days ago from a Taiwanese man in Thailand for 200,000 baht (US$6,500) and planned to sell them in Taiwan for up to six times that amount, police said. The man faces one year in prison and a 2,000 baht fine for possession of the fetuses. In black magic rituals, preserved fetuses are believed to bring good fortune to the owner.
Thein Sein recuperates
Reformist president Thein Sein was recuperating yesterday at his private home in Yangon after feeling unwell, officials said, denying rumors of a more serious illness. “He has a cold but he is well now,” said an official at the presidential office who did not want to be named. The 67-year-old former general has a heart condition and uses a pacemaker. A second government official said Thein Sein had been for a “routine medical check-up in Yangon” on Thursday.
A woman who went on the run with some of the millions of dollars mistakenly deposited into her partner’s bank account has been convicted of theft, attempted fraud and money laundering. Kara Hurring and her partner were dubbed the “Accidental Millionaires” after Westpac bank in 2009 gave them a credit line of NZ$10 million (US$7.7 million) — 100 times their approved limit. The couple transferred millions into other accounts and left for China.
Google threatened with suit
Tehran said it plans to sue Google for dropping the name Persian Gulf on Google Maps. The threat came after the search engine left the body of water between the nation and the Arabian Peninsula nameless on its online map service. Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said that if Google did not restore the name it would face “serious damages.” Mehmanparast told the semi-official Mehr news agency on Thursday that Tehran had already warned Google of possible legal action. The government is sensitive about the name of the body of water, which has historically been known as the Persian Gulf, though some Arab states insist on calling it the Arabian Gulf.