Quake hits Luzon
A magnitude 6.1 earthquake struck off the west coast of the island of Luzon yesterday, US seismologists said, but there were no reports of casualties and no tsunami alert was issued. The US Geological Survey said the quake hit at a depth of 35km at 6:18 am,182 km northwest of Manila. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology measured the quake at magnitude 6.0. The quake was felt in some areas, including Manila, but there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties, civil defense chief Benito Ramos said. A fault line runs directly under Manila, a metropolis of more than 12 million people, and government seismologists have warned the city is unprepared for a major quake.
Prison fire kills thirteen
Inmates in a prison in the southeast set beds and blankets alight, starting a fire that killed 13 prisoners, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other officials said yesterday. Erdogan said the fire affected a ward housing 18 inmates in the prison in the mainly Kurdish city of Sanliurfa. He said some inmates set their bedding on fire following a fight that broke out inside the ward late on Saturday. It was not immediately clear if the victims had died of burns or from asphyxiation. Erdogan said five other inmates were hospitalized for smoke inhalation. None was in serious condition. Regional governor Celalettin Guvenc said authorities had launched an investigation into the incident, including into possible delays by authorities or firefighters in responding to the fire.
Snakes terrify bus
Six poisonous snakes escaped from a bag on a bus, sparking screams and a hurried evacuation of the 14 people aboard, but nobody was bitten. A police officer says passengers and villagers killed all of the highly venomous kraits after the bus made a quick stop in Quang Nam Province. The police officer said someone who was not a passenger put the bag on the bus and paid the driver to transport it. It was not immediately clear if the snakes were there legally. Snakes are a delicacy in some restaurants and an ingredient in traditional liquors.
Vessels in dispute sent back
President Benigno Aquino III has ordered home two ships engaged in a maritime stand-off with China over the disputed Scarborough Shoal (黃岩島) in the South China Sea, citing bad weather, the government said on Saturday. The vessels have been around the shoal since April, guarding the territory which is also claimed by Taiwan and China. The announcement was made as Typhoon Guchol approached the country’s north from the Pacific Ocean.
Government seeks ties with
India wants to strengthen economic ties with Cuba, a top Indian diplomat said on Saturday on a trip to the Caribbean island. “The purpose of my visit to Cuba is to promote economic relations between both countries,” S.M. Krishna said on state television after a meeting with the speaker of Cuba’s National Assembly, Ricardo Alarcon. Bilateral trade between the two states totaled US$54 million in 2010. The two countries also cooperate in biotechnology, information technology, education and sports. India has also invested in oil exploration off Cuba’s coast. Next month, India’s trade minister will visit Cuba to further foster good relations, Krishna added.
Avalanche kills climbers