Hotel fire kills 13
A fire at an Internet cafe spread to a hotel on the upper floors of a building in Xiangyang, Hubei Province, killing 13 people and injuring 50 others. Some of the hotel guests escaped and firefighters rescued others from the building. The fire started just after 6:30am on Sunday and was extinguished before 9am, Xinhua news agency said.
Transsexual fights to wed
The territory’s highest court yesterday began hearing the final appeal of a transsexual woman who is seeking to wed her boyfriend. The woman, who was born as a man, is known only as “W” under anonymity rules and now in her 30s. She is seeking to overturn earlier rulings that said marriage is only allowed between couples who were of the opposite sex at birth. She has argued that she has undergone sex change surgery and had her gender altered on her identity card since she launched the legal battle in 2010. The Registrar of Marriages had ruled that W could not marry her boyfriend because her birth certificate — which cannot be changed by law — says that she is still a man.
Pilots pass drug tests
The pilot and co-pilot of a Lion Air plane that crashed near Bali’s airport have passed initial drug tests, an official said yesterday, as investigators probe the causes of Saturday’s accident, which left dozens injured, but no fatalities. Officials had planned later yesterday to haul the half-submerged wreckage onto a beach to examine the jet’s interior and recover the cockpit voice recorder, but yesterday said it must be cut into several parts.
Hogan fights for earnings
Crocodile Dundee star Paul Hogan has taken legal action in a US court to recover US$34 million held in a Swiss bank account that he alleges has been misappropriated, reports said yesterday. Hogan says his once-trusted tax adviser has disappeared with the cash. The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Californian district court documents allege Philip Egglishaw “absconded with or spent all” of Hogan’s millions.
Pangolins found on boat
The coast guard said yesterday it had found hundreds of frozen scaly anteaters, or pangolins, in the cargo hold of a Chinese boat that ran aground in a protected marine sanctuary last week. Wildlife officials have been informed, which could lead to more charges for the 12 Chinese men arrested on charges, including poaching after their boat was stranded in Tubbataha Reef last week. A protected species, pangolins are widely hunted in parts of Asia for their meat, skin and scales. They are also found in the wild on Palawan, the nearest land area to Tubbataha Reef, where the boat was marooned.
Cull cost US$1.6 billion
The nation’s poultry industry lost 10 billion yuan (US$1.6 billion) in the week after the H7N9 bird flu virus began infecting humans, state-run media said yesterday as they sought to discourage panic. Sixty people have been confirmed as infected and 13 have died in the past two weeks. “The public should somewhat restrain their anxieties to avoid this becoming a disaster for the whole poultry industry,” the Global Times said in an editorial, adding that not eating poultry was “unfair to farmers.” It called the avoidance of such foods “excessive anxiety” and urged people instead to “demonstrate a collective spirit beyond individualism.”