Train crash fire kills 25
A train carrying gasoline derailed and burst into flames, killing 25 people and injuring 62, most of them villagers trying to collect fuel spilled in the accident, state television said. The fire started after three cars loaded with gasoline turned over near a village in Kanbalu township, near the Indian border. Residents of Chekgyi village were gathered around the accident site trying to collect spilled gasoline when they were trapped in the fire. About 70 percent of Myanmar’s 60 million people live on farms, where fuel is scarce. A Railway Department official said the death toll might rise as some villagers were seriously injured.
Marathon bars Japanese
Organizers of the Beijing marathon have barred Japanese runners from taking part due to safety concerns after a fresh flare-up in a territorial dispute between Japan and China, the Asahi Shimbun’s online edition said yesterday. “If they choose other nationalities including China, Japanese can take part,” the report quoted a source at the organizing committee of the Nov. 25 marathon as saying. The committee made the decision by taking into consideration the safety of athletes, the daily said in a report from Beijing. Japanese companies such as Canon sponsored the annual event until last year, but they are not sponsoring it this year.
Girl embarrasses officials
Officials accustomed to the tame questions of a compliant state press were caught out by a plucky 11-year-old reporter during the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) 18th Party Congress. Sun Luyuan (孫露源), a Beijing sixth-grade student, on Friday shook up one of the party meetings on the congress’ sidelines with a question that put officials on the spot over the country’s miserable food-safety record. Saying that a steady stream of scandals and health scares involving tainted or unsafe food products had particularly affected students, Sun asked why China cannot clean up its act. “I love snacks, but I don’t dare eat snacks now because we see so many reports these days of problems with food products,” Sun asked high-level officials during a congress delegate meeting, according to state-run China News Service. During the meeting, Sun continued by asking: “Why are these kinds of food products available for purchase?” Chinese Education Minister Yuan Guiren (袁貴仁) offered a stock official response, pledging the government was addressing the situation and putting proper safety measures in place, a line repeated for years even as the scandals have persisted.
Google services cut off
Google said its search engine and other Internet services have been cut off from much of China just as the country’s ruling party’s holds its 18th congress. Data posted on Google’s Web site shows its services became largely inaccessible beginning at about 1am on Friday. A Google spokeswoman said the company had found no problems in its own computers or network that would disrupt its services. That raised the possibility that the Chinese Communist Party decided to block Google’s services at a politically sensitive time. Google’s search engines, e-mail and other services have been periodically unavailable in China since 2010, after Google decided to stop censoring its search results to remove Web sites that the government found objectionable.