Fire kills 13 students
A fire caused by faulty electrical equipment killed 13 boys at an Islamic school in Yangon yesterday, the fire service said. The boys suffocated after the fire broke out in a dormitory of the school in the Botataung district about 2:40am, neighbors and officials said. Yangon Region Fire Service said it was setting up a team to investigate the fire with the police, the electricity company and representatives from Muslim groups. A funeral for the boys was held yesterday afternoon.
Defendant makes demands
A defendant in the New Delhi gang rape and murder trial has demanded “proper food and newspapers” from jail officials as he prepares for a job recruitment test, the Press Trust of India reported on Monday. Vinay Sharma, who along with five others allegedly gang raped a 23-year-old student in a bus in December last year, filed the plea in a fast-track court where he is being tried, the news agency said. Sharma wants to take the Indian Air Force clerical recruitment test, the news agency said. Sharma, a 20-year-old gym assistant, said he should be given milk and fruits in jail. Late last month he asked the court to provide him with a tutor and reading materials to help him prepare for the test.
Police rounding up cows
The Kathmandu Metropolitan Traffic Police have launched a campaign to round up cows roaming the streets, blaming the sacred animals for car accidents and traffic jams. “The stray cows and oxen have been a big nuisance in Kathmandu streets. They not only cause accidents, but also make the streets untidy,” spokesman Pawan Giri said. “We see traffic jams because the drivers who try to avoid the cows often crash into other vehicles.” He said the captured animals would be detained until their owners paid a fine of approximately US$60 for their release.
Author to make appearance
Bestselling author Haruki Murakami is to appear at a question-and-answer session next month, in a rare public appearance for the publicity-shy, but wildly popular writer. Murakami will be part of a seminar titled “Observe soul, write soul” on May 6 in Kyoto. The event will reportedly be his first public speech in the country for 18 years. Murakami’s last public appearances in the nation were at book-readings in the wake of the 1995 earthquake that leveled much of Kobe.
The curtain went up once more at one of the nation’s most important theaters yesterday after the Kabuki-za was rebuilt for the fourth time. An elaborate ceremony involving incantations and large taiko drums was held as a big digital countdown clock, installed six months ago, ticked away the last few minutes ahead of the official opening. A theater for kabuki was first established on the site in 1889, but has now been rebuilt four times, this time as part of a 29-story office block.
Greenpeace issues warning
Mountains of hazardous waste left from the nation’s huge phosphate fertilizer industry are polluting nearby communities and waters, Greenpeace said in a report yesterday. “It’s critical the government addresses this issue and assists the victims of corporate selfishness,” activist Lang Xiyu said in a statement. “We can no longer continue ignoring 300 million tons of phosphogypsum polluting our soil, water and air.”
Kennedy may be ambassador
President Barack Obama is leaning toward picking Caroline Kennedy to be the country’s next ambassador to Japan, a source familiar with the process said on Monday. The 55-year-old daughter of former president John F. Kennedy would be the first female ambassador to Japan. She was one of the earliest backers of Obama in his first presidential campaign in 2008 and her endorsement was significant in helping him defeat former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton in the presidential primary that year. The author and lawyer serves on the board of several non-profit organizations.
Nine bodies found in SUV
The bodies of nine men, most of them dismembered, were found inside a sport utility vehicle with Texas license plates near Ciudad Victoria, the capital of Tamaulipas State, which borders Texas, prosecutors said on Monday. Authorities made the discovery after receiving a report late on Sunday of an abandoned vehicle. Elsewhere, officials said five people, including a 45-year-old US man, were killed in two bar shootings in the western city of Guadalajara late on Sunday. Prosecutors suspect organized crime.
Doctor denies murders
The doctor charged with murdering seven hospital patients — and under investigation for hundreds more suspicious deaths — insisted on her innocence outside a courthouse on Monday. “I have confidence in justice. Truth takes time and it will appear,” Virginia Soares de Souza said in brief remarks to reporters after attending a hearing in Parana State. De Souza, 56, who was freed on bail on March 20 after a month in jail, has denied all the charges against her. She, along with three doctors and two nurses from the same unit, have been charged with the murder of seven patients since 2006, while a physiotherapist and a nurse face lesser charges. However, a team led by health ministry investigator Mario Lobato is re-examining the 1,872 deaths that took place in the intensive care unit she led for seven years, focusing on about 300 cases deemed suspicious.
‘Survivor’ doctor kills self
The doctor for the country’s version of hit reality TV show Survivor killed himself in Cambodia on Monday, saying in a suicide note that the media had “sullied” his name after a contestant in his care died of a heart attack. “In recent days, my name has been sullied in the media,” Thierry Costa wrote in the note before committing suicide just over a week after the death of 25-year-old Gerald Babin on a remote Cambodian island. Babin died of a heart attack on March 22.
Easter egg hunt turns violent
One of the usually peaceful springtime rituals of childhood — the Easter egg hunt — turned nasty at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. Blame the moms. A statement on the Seattle Police Department blotter on Monday says the “hard-boiled tale” began on Sunday afternoon, “when one woman reportedly pushed a child aside as her own child was scrambling toward some brightly colored eggs.” Police say the two mothers began fighting and had to be separated three or four times. The fisticuffs left one woman with a bloody nose. Only one mother was still there when officers arrived. She said she was not interested in pursuing charges against her attacker. As the release puts it, that left officers without “any info that could crack the case.”
An Australian university student who has never visited China and has only a modest social media following would seem an unlikely target for the Chinese government. However, when a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman personally denounced Drew Pavlou at a news conference, it was just the next phase in an extraordinary campaign against the 21-year-old that has fueled concerns over China’s targeting of critics overseas. Pavlou first placed himself in the superpower’s sights when in July last year he organized a small sit-in at the University of Queensland, where he studies, to protest against various Chinese government policies. Since then, the Global
‘ASKED TO MOVE OUT’: Indonesian coast guard personnel argued with a Chinese vessel over territorial claims after it entered the country’s exclusive economic zone An Indonesian patrol ship confronted a Chinese coast guard vessel that spent almost three days in waters where Indonesia claims economic rights and that are near the southernmost part of China’s disputed claims to the South China Sea. The Indonesian Maritime Security Agency on Friday night detected Chinese ship 5204 entering Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in what Indonesia calls the North Natuna Sea. The agency sent a patrol ship that closed within 1km of the Chinese coast guard vessel and they communicated to affirm their position and their nation’s claims to the area, Indonesian Maritime Security Agency head Aan Kurnia said. “We
BEFORE WINTER COMES: Snow cuts off roads into Ladakh for four months or more each year, so the crunch is on to get food, tents and high-altitude equipment to Leh From deploying mules to large transport aircraft, the Indian military has activated its entire logistics network to transport supplies to thousands of troops for a harsh winter along a bitterly disputed Himalayan border with China. In the past few months, one of India’s biggest military logistics exercises in years has brought vast quantities of ammunition, equipment, fuel, winter supplies and food into Ladakh, a region bordering Tibet that India administers as a union territory, officials said. The move was triggered by a border standoff with China in the snow deserts of Ladakh that began in May and escalated in June into hand-to-hand
Dark matter, mysterious invisible stuff that makes up most of the mass of galaxies, including the Milky Way, is confounding scientists again, with new observations of distant galaxies conflicting with the current understanding of its nature. Research published this week revealed an unexpected discrepancy between observations of dark matter concentrations in three massive clusters of galaxies encompassing trillions of stars and theoretical computer simulations of how dark matter should be distributed. “Either there is a missing ingredient in the simulations or we have made a fundamental incorrect assumption about the nature of dark matter,” Yale University astrophysicist Priyamvada Natarajan, a coauthor of