Boat accident claims 11
State media have said 11 people were killed in a boat collision on a river in southern Hunan Province. Central Television said one other person is missing after Friday’s crash on the Yuan River. Ten people were injured and hospitalized. The Yuanjiang City government said on its Web site that a steel-structured boat carrying 22 people struck a freight vessel, causing all on board the boat to fall into the water. Boat accidents are common in China, although water safety is improving. State-run China News said in a July report that the country had 117 boat accidents in the first six months of this year, killing 142 people. It quoted a spokesman for the Ministry of Transport as saying both figures were down from last year.
Hong Kong sinking toll rises
The death toll from Hong Kong’s biggest maritime tragedy in decades has risen to 39 and rescue workers have called off the search for any more missing, authorities said. Hong Kong’s government said late on Friday that another person had died following the collision between a commuter ferry and a smaller boat carrying people to see a holiday fireworks display on Monday evening. All 39 dead, and most of the nearly 100 injured, were aboard the smaller boat, the Lamma IV, which was carrying 124 passengers and three crew. It had just departed Lamma Island, off the southwest coast of main Hong Kong island and was heading for Victoria Harbour when it collided with the Sea Smooth ferry and sank rapidly. Police have arrested seven crew members from the two boats, including both captains. The government also said rescuers had called off their search for any more missing people after accounting for everyone aboard both vessels.
New China diplomat named
Japan is to name a career diplomat as its ambassador to China — with the neighbors in a bitter territorial row — after the newly appointed envoy fell ill and died last month, reports said yesterday. Masato Kitera, 59, is to be chosen to succeed Uichiro Niwa next month and become Tokyo’s point man in the dispute over an island chain in the East China Sea, Japanese dailies Asahi, Yomiuri and others reported. Japan initially picked Shinichi Nishimiya, another career diplomat, for the post, but before he could take up the role he fell ill in a Tokyo street last month and was taken to hospital, dying a few days later.
A writer who spoke out against Chinese repression of Tibet has burned himself to death, a rights group said — the 53rd person to set themselves ablaze protesting Beijing’s rule. The International Campaign for Tibet said in a statement that Gudrub, 42, called for freedom for the region and the return of the exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama while flames engulfed him in Tibet’s Nagchu county on Thursday. Gudrub, who was only identified by one name, was taken to a local hospital by authorities where he was pronounced dead, the London-based group said, citing multiple exile Tibetan media outlets. Calls to authorities in Nagchu yesterday went unanswered. China’s Tibetan-inhabited areas have seen an explosion in such protests since February 2009, with at least 53 Tibetans setting themselves alight, mostly since March last year, the campaign said.
Actress accused of theft
Koo Stark, the former girlfriend of Britain’s Prince Andrew, appeared in court on Friday accused of stealing a painting from a former partner. Stark, 56, an actress, photographer and artist who dated Andrew in the early 1980s, appeared at West London Magistrates’ Court on charges relating to the ￡40,000 (US$65,000) artwork. It is alleged she stole the Anthonie van Borssom oil painting from the flat of her former partner, Warren Walker, father of her daughter Tatiana. Stark denied stealing the artwork, which depicts a moonlit coastal landscape. Stark dated Andrew for 18 months after his return from serving in the 1982 Falklands War. He went on to marry Sarah Ferguson in 1986