Anti-polio workers killed
Two polio vaccination workers in the northwestern tribal region were killed by a bomb yesterday, officials said, the latest in a series of such attacks which have now killed 19 in two months. “The two-men team was visiting Mali Khel Village in the upper Kurram tribal region when an improvised explosive device planted along the roadside went off, killing them on the spot,” said Jawad Ali, who is in charge of the campaign in Kurram. There has been no claim of responsibility for any of the killings, but the umbrella Taliban faction last year banned polio vaccinations in Waziristan, condemning the campaign as a cover for espionage.
Factory owners arrested
Police have arrested two owners of a garment factory where a fire killed seven workers on Saturday. Police yesterday were questioning Smart Export Garment chairman Sharif Ahmed and managing director Zakir Ahmed after a court placed them on a two-day remand. They face charges of negligence and murder. A police case has been filed against the duo and another official.
Millionaire sells canned air
Two weeks of very smoggy weather in Beijing has rekindled a tongue-in-cheek campaign by showboating multimillionaire Chen Guangbiao (陳光標), who is selling canned fresh air. Chen on Wednesday handed out soda pop-sized cans of air, purportedly from “pristine” regions such as Xinjiang and Taiwan. “I want to tell mayors, county chiefs and heads of big companies: Don’t just chase GDP growth, don’t chase the biggest profits at the expense of our children and grandchildren and at the cost of sacrificing our ecological environment,” Chen said. He handed out green and orange cans of “Fresh Air,” with a caricature of himself on them saying, “Chen Guangbiao is a good man.” He said his canned-air effort was a way to awaken people to the importance of environmental protection. Chen aroused controversy on a visit to Taiwan in 2011, when he handed out hundreds of millions of New Taiwan dollars.
Smog, not fire in Shanghai
Shanghai was forced to deny that the nation’s future tallest building, now under construction, was on fire yesterday after what looked like smog surrounded the structure. Alarmed microblog users posted photos of the Shanghai Tower with smoke appearing to billow from the building. The city government sought to calm the panic by denying a blaze, but its explanation of “fog” was quickly ridiculed. Internet users said the culprit was air pollution. One, referring to the tiny air particles that can deeply penetrate the lungs, said: “It’s PM2.5, which is fiercer than fire.”
Fugitive politician caught
Police have arrested a fugitive politician who disappeared eight years ago after being convicted of hiring a gunman to kill a rival. Police Lieutenant General Pongpat Chayaphan on Wednesday said Somchai Khunpleum, 75, was arrested in a car while traveling from Bangkok to his hometown of Chonburi. The Supreme Court sentenced him to 25 years imprisonment in 2004 for conspiring in the murder of a political opponent. He also received a five-year jail term for a corruption case. Somchai was released on bail in 2005 and reportedly fled the country. Police said a commando squad had followed him on Wednesday to a Bangkok hospital, where he had an appointment under a fake name.