Mudslide cuts off village
Rescue workers are searching for more than 100 people trapped by a mudslide in Yunnan Province. Xinhua news agency said the mudslide engulfed a village in Yunnan yesterday morning, trapping at least 200 people. The slide was triggered by days of storms. It says local firefighters have so far rescued more than 80 people. Xinhua says the village has a population of about 940.
Aussie’s alleged killers tried
The trial of two men charged with killing an Australian travel agent has opened on Phuket. Michelle Elizabeth Smith was walking near her hotel on June 20 when two men on a motorcycle tried to grab her bag and then stabbed her when she resisted. The 60-year-old walked away from the attack, but collapsed and died shortly afterward. Surasak Suwannachote and Surin Tabthong were arrested within days after a huge manhunt. On their way to court yesterday, the 26-yeard-old Surasak told reporters: “I confess” to the crime. He is accused of stabbing Smith. The 37-year-old Surin is accused of driving the motorcycle. He denied the charges yesterday despite having confessed to the killing earlier. Both men could face the death penalty if convicted.
Parliament causes shake-up
The country faces a period of damaging uncertainty after President Hamid Karzai bowed to parliament’s surprise decision to unseat his two top security officials, but said they would stay in their jobs indefinitely, while he looked for replacements. The coming shakeup at the defense and interior ministries has the potential to complicate the ongoing handover of security from NATO, unbalance a Cabinet stacked with powerful rivals, and stir up Western fears about loss of influence.
Ferry hits humpback whale
A humpback whale and its calf were injured yesterday after apparently being hit by a ferry in Sydney Harbour, with witnesses saying the animals had ugly gashes and cuts. The ferry Collaroy was sailing from Circular Quay to the beachside suburb of Manly when the whales “just popped up.” “There was nothing the ferry could do,” said Richard Ford from Sydney Whale Watching, whose boats were on the water monitoring the whales at the time. “Obviously if you get hit by a Manly ferry you are going to be in distress, but we watched afterwards and they seemed to be swimming in a normal pattern,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald. Aerial photos showed a female humpback with a gaping wound near its dorsal fin and its calf with a long gash.
Police crack down on gangs
Police said yesterday they had arrested 150 people during raids on casinos and hotels after a spate of murders raised fears of a return to the gaming hub’s violent past. Police questioned nearly 1,300 people and detained 150 in an operation codenamed “Thunderbolt 2012” conducted across the territory late on Friday, police spokesman Chong Su-pong said. The operation came after three unsolved murders and an attack on a casino hotel boss, which revived memories of the former Portuguese colony’s past troubles with gang--related crime. “The operation was a joint operation among the Macau, Hong Kong and Chinese police,” Chong said, adding that a suspect in a Hong Kong murder case was among those in custody.