Civilians killed in airstrike
Authorities say an airstrike by the US-led NATO coalition has killed eight members of a family in the east. The coalition says it is aware of the allegation and is looking into what happened late Saturday in Paktia Province. Provincial spokesman Rohullah Samon said yesterday that a man, woman and their six children were killed in a coalition airstrike 8pm in Suri Khail village of Gurda Saria district. The Taliban kills more civilians than foreign forces, but the deaths of citizens caught in the crossfire continue to be an irritant in President Hamid Karzai’s relationship with his international partners.
Activist’s brother back home
A rights lawyer says the brother of blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng (陳光誠) has returned to his closely guarded village in eastern China. Ding Xikui (丁錫奎) says he received a message from a friend of Chen Guangfu (陳光) that said the elder Chen had returned to Dongshigu village. Chen Guangfu had traveled to Beijing, where he sought legal advice from Ding this past week on how to protect his son from what the family’s supporters call retaliation by local officials. Ding had no further information, and it was unclear if Chen Guangfu returned to the village voluntarily.
Russian consul dies in fall
A Russian consul-general died after falling down a 30m cliff during a ball game at a campsite in the northwest of the country, police said yesterday. Vladimir Pushkov, 55, who was stationed at a consulate general in Niigata Prefecture, was on a camping trip when “he fell down a cliff and hit his head hard when he was chasing after a ball on Saturday,” police said. Russian vice-consul Roman Kolesnik, 41, tried to rescue Pushkov, but was hospitalized after he also fell down the precipice and injured his back, the official said.
Four die in tunnel blast
Four construction workers were confirmed dead yesterday after being recovered from inside a mountain tunnel where they had been trapped since an explosion on Thursday, an official said. The blast occurred inside a 2.8km highway tunnel being built in Minami Uonuma, police and fire department officials said. Rescuers had been unable to enter the tunnel because of dangerously high gas levels for more than two days, but were finally able to bring out the workers early yesterday, a fire department official said. They “sent them to hospitals,” but all “four were confirmed dead there,” the official added. Rescuers detected four different types of gas, the official said. Police are investigating the cause of the accident, officials said.
Airport name criticized
A decision to name a southwestern airport after a local liquor brand has provoked widespread derision and controversy, reports said yesterday. Authorities in Yibin, Sichuan Province, said their move to name the new airport “Wuliangye” after a local liquor would have a positive impact on the city and the company. Various experts said that christening an airport with a trademark ignored both the law and custom that airport names should refer to their locations. Internet users derided the move. “Ha, ha, another new example of the collusion between the government and the business world,” Wu Yupeng mocked on his Weibo microblog.
PRI suspends ex-governor
The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) has suspended the membership of a former governor accused of accepting millions of US dollars in bribes from drug cartels. Former Tamaulipas state governor Tomas Yarrington would be suspended until the accusations are cleared up, the party said in a statement on Saturday. PRI leader Joaquin Coldwell urged Yarrington to cooperate with authorities so that the probe does not affect upcoming elections. Yarrington was governor of Tamaulipas, the home base of the Gulf drug cartel, from 1999 to 2004. Last week, US federal prosecutors filed two civil forfeiture cases seeking to seize more than US$7 million in properties Yarrington or his associates allegedly bought in Texas with drug money.