Quake claims four lives
A moderate earthquake toppled houses in a mountainous part of the southwest, killing four people and injuring at least 100, Xinhua news agency said. Sunday’s magnitude 5.7 quake was centered near the border of Yunnan and Sichuan provinces, where many of the Yi ethnic minority live, Xinhua reported yesterday. It said the casualties occurred in Yunnan’s Ninglang County and Sichuan’s Yanyuan County, where many houses collapsed. Rescue officials were sending tents, quilts and clothes to the affected area, it said.
Rains cause huge damage
State media said torrential rains have killed at least 16 people and affected 1.5 million in southern and northern parts of the country. Xinhua news agency said yesterday that the heavy rains over the past three days had affected 450,000 people and wiped out crops in the Guangxi region. More than 730,000 people were affected in Jiangxi Province and 312,000 were affected in Guangdong Province. Xinhua quoted a local government official as saying the direct economic losses so far were US$20.3 million and that water levels in 10 reservoirs and several major rivers had risen above warning levels. Xinhua said rainstorm-triggered floods also hit areas of Inner Mongolia.
Tensions with Seoul rise
The government called the use of its national flag in US-South Korean military drills a “grave provocative act” and an insult. An unidentified foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement late on Sunday that Pyongyang would continue boosting its nuclear weapons program because of US hostility. The statement called the program “an all-powerful treasured sword for preventing a war.” The drills on Friday were the allies’ biggest since the Korean War. A huge national flag on a hill disappeared behind flames and smoke as South Korean jets and US helicopters fired rockets.
Men held for tourist killing
Police arrested two suspects in the murder of an Australian woman who was killed in Phuket by a man who stabbed her in a struggle to steal her bag. Police said Surin Tadthong was arrested yesterday outside of Bangkok, where he is believed to have fled after Thursday’s murder of 60-year-old Michelle Elizabeth Smith. A second, unidentified man was arrested in Chumphon Province. Surveillance footage shows Smith walking down a street in Phuket when two men passed by on a motorcycle. The man on the backseat jumped off and tried to steal her bag, repeatedly stabbing her when she resisted. Police Liutenant Colonel Boonlert Ongklang said Surin, a 37-year-old mechanic, was suspected to have driven the motorcycle.
PM to visit disputed island
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev will visit the largest of the four Kuril Islands whose ownership is disputed with Japan next month, a local news agency reported yesterday citing unnamed sources. “On July 2, the prime minister will fly to Vladivostok, and then go to Sakhalin Island and to Iturup,” the Sakhalin.info news agency reported on its Web site. In November 2010, still president, Medvedev outraged Tokyo by becoming the first Russian leader to visit the Kurils. The two nations have never formally signed a World War II peace treaty because Japan maintains its claim over the islands, which Moscow has controlled and tried to develop since the end of the war.