Mine death toll rises to 19
The death toll from a coal mine blast on Saturday in Guizhou has risen to 19 from 18, Xinhua news agency reported, citing local government official. Four miners are still trapped after a coal-gas outburst hit the mine on Saturday morning, Xinhua said, citing unidentified rescuers. Yin Zhihua (尹志華), vice mayor of Liupanshui, which has jurisdiction over the area, said rescuers were expected to reach the trapped workers by yesterday afternoon, Xinhua said. Xinhua said the coal mine is operated by Pannan Coal Exploitation Co and opened in 2006. It supplies Pannan power station, which is part of the government strategy to send electricity from western regions to the eastern areas, it said.
Five die in anti-Shiite blast
A bomb killed at least five people and wounded about 70 near a Shiite procession yesterday, police said, as the sect braced for major sectarian attacks by Sunni militants during a critical event in their religious calendar. Television footage showed the wounded being carried away in Dera Ismail Khan, where a bomb targeting Shiites killed at least seven people, including four children, on Saturday. The bomb, planted in a shop beside a street market, also wounded five security officials, senior police official Malik Mushtaq said.“There is a lack of ambulances and not enough hospital beds,” a doctor said. “People brought many of the injured to the hospital on rickshaws.” Hardline sectarian Sunni groups, which are becoming increasingly dangerous, have threatened more attacks as the Shiite month of Muharram comes to a climax. Security officials say organizations, such as Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, are stepping up attacks on Shiites, who they regard as non-believers, in a bid to destabilize nuclear-armed, US ally Pakistan and establish a Sunni theocracy.
Record numbers take test
Hundreds of thousands of people packed out schools and universities yesterday to take the national civil service exam, with record numbers registering in search of a stable government job. More than 1.5 million people registered to take the exam, the Beijing Times reported, a record and over 30 times the number sitting the exam a decade ago. This year test-takers are vying for about 20,000 government vacancies, state television said. The rapid expansion in recent years has been boosted by the perception that government jobs offer added stability and status, test-takers said.
Student killed in clashes
A student was killed and eight wounded in clashes between Sunnis and Shiites at Kabul University, a senior police officer said on Saturday. “It seems the clash between some Sunni and Shiite students erupted when Shiite students wanted to perform the Ashura mourning ceremony in a dormitory mosque,” said Mohammad Zaher, head of Kabul’s Criminal Investigation Department. “One person was killed and eight were injured,” he said, adding that the situation was under control and an investigation under way. Ashura is a religious ceremony marking the murder of Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, by the armies of the Caliph Yazid in 680. Hussein is equally revered by Sunnis, but hardliners oppose the public mourning of his martyrdom. The ceremony, in which men beat their chests and self-flagellate their backs with sharp blades, has long been a magnet for sectarian attacks.