Acid leak kills at least three
A sulphuric acid leak at a warehouse in the northeast has killed at least three people. Xinhua news agency said yesterday that the leak spread into areas surrounding Fangshen village in Liao-ning Province, preventing rescuers from approaching the area. It was not exactly clear when the leak occurred, and Xinhua said authorities were still trying to verify the number of dead. Xinhua said the 2,000m3 of sulphuric acid leaked from a storehouse used by a family business. It did not give a cause for the accident, and local government officials reached by phone said they had no information.
The government said it is looking into reports that three Laotian-Americans have gone missing in southern Laos. According to relatives, the Minnesota residents went missing in early January in Savannakhet Province on their way to a funeral. The State Department said the embassy in Vientiane had contacted the Laotian government for further information. Three bodies were recently found in a burned van in the province, and Khammanh Kongdaravong, the wife of one of the missing men, said relatives in Laos have identified her husband, Souli, as one of the dead. The circumstances in which the van caught fire are unclear.
Gay pride celebrates past
Up to 300,000 spectators were yesterday expected to brave the rain to watch the annual Mardi Gras gay pride parade, with an emphasis on the political as the nation prepares for elections. The event, which bills itself as the world’s biggest night parade, is celebrating the theme “Generations of Love,” focused on its origins in 1978 as a gay rights protest march that ended with violence and arrests. Some of the original activists, known as the “78ers,” will take pride of place at the beginning of the parade, behind the traditional “Dykes on Bikes” motorcade which officially starts the colorful, often irreverent march. About 10,000 revellers on 115 individual floats will make the journey down Oxford Street, hub of Sydney’s gay and lesbian nightlife, in a vibrant show featuring drag queens, political parodies and plenty of sparkle.
War crimes film debuts
A documentary purporting to show the execution of civilians and other war crimes committed by the Sri Lankan army had its first public screening on Friday, but was swiftly rejected by the Sri Lankan government as part of an “orchestrated campaign” against it. The documentary No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka is the third by British journalist and director Callum Macrae about the final stages of the nearly 30-year civil war. “We see it as a film of record, but also a call to action,” Macrae told a news briefing. Tens of thousands of civilians were killed in 2009 in the final months the war, a UN panel has said, as government troops advanced on the northern tip of the island controlled by Tamil rebels fighting for an independent homeland. The film depicts scenes from the territory held by the Tamil Tiger rebels just before their defeat in May 2009. In the so-called “No Fire Zone” declared by the army, rights groups say soldiers killed thousands of Tamil civilians by heavy shelling and massacres yet perpetrators have gone unpunished. Sri Lanka’s government last week formally protested against the film’s screening on UN premises on the sidelines of the Human Rights Council.