Landmine kills 10 girls
A forgotten Soviet-era landmine has killed 10 schoolgirls and seriously injured another in a grim reminder of the ongoing impact of decades of war on the country. The girls, all under 12, spent their mornings collecting wood to help their families through the bitter winter, and went to school in eastern Nangarhar Province in the afternoon. They were unwittingly gathered round a long-buried landmine, splitting logs with a small hatchet, when the blows detonated the old explosives, provincial police chief General Abdullah Stanekzai said, adding: “We found another two bombs at the site and defused them.” The tragedy came on the same day that a truck bomb in Kabul killed two civilians working for a US military contractor and wounded at least 15, and gunmen murdered an employee of the education ministry in Kandahar Province. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the bombing.
Crew blamed for jet crash
The National Commission on Safety Transportation said human error caused a Russian-made passenger jetliner to crash into a volcano seven months ago during a demonstration flight, killing all 45 people aboard. Commission chairman Tatang Kurniadi yesterday said that data recovered from the Sukhoi Superjet-100 indicated the pilot in command was chatting with a potential buyer in the cockpit just before the plane slammed into Mount Salak in May. Kurniadi said that 38 seconds before the crash, the plane issued warnings saying “pull up, terrain ahead” and later “avoid terrain,” but the warnings were ignored.
Japanese is world’s oldest
The mayor of Kyotango has hailed a resident of his city for becoming the world’s oldest person. At 115 years old, Jiroemon Kimura inherited the title from a US woman who died on Monday. Mayor Yasushi Nakayama confirmed his status yesterday, calling him “the pride of our town.” Kimura, born on April 19, 1897, is 15 days younger than his predecessor, Dina Manfredini, who died in Iowa less than two weeks after inheriting the title as the world’s oldest living person. Kimura, a former postal employee, has 14 grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren and 13 great-great-grandchildren. He lives with his son’s family. Kimura’s family declined to comment to reporters out of consideration for Manfredini’s family.
Ban Islamic parties: strikers
A general strike to demand that the Muslim-majority nation ban Islamic political parties shut down schools and stores and disrupted traffic in the capital yesterday. A coalition of five leftist parties was enforcing the dawn-to-dusk nationwide strike, a common tactic to highlight demands. More than two dozen Islamic parties want the country to be governed by Shariah or Islamic law. The strikers say the Islamic parties should be banned because they oppose the constitutional provision that says the nation be governed by secular law. Authorities deployed about 10,000 police and security forces in Dhaka as hundreds of protesters took to the streets, blocking roads and halting traffic. There were no immediate reports of violence. Dhaka’s Somoy and Channel-I TV stations reported that the strike disrupted communications in many of the country’s 64 districts. The strike also left thousands of commuters stranded at bus stations, but the government said trains and river ferries were operating without disruptions.