‘Tainted alcohol’ kills Brit
A British backpacker has died while trekking through the jungle in Sumatra after she drank suspected tainted alcohol, police said on Saturday. Cheznye Emmons, 23, was travelling with fellow Briton Joseph Cook, 21, according to a police report. The pair, accompanied by a third tourist, drank four bottles of local whisky called Mansion on April 20, according to the document. Police said they were investigating whether the alcohol was laced with methanol, which is highly poisonous. The morning after consuming the alcohol, Emmons told staff at her accommodation that she had a stomachache. She was admitted to hospital in Medan, the capital of North Sumatra province, after checking out. “On April 23, the owners of the accommodation ... received the news that [she] had died,” the report said.
Rainstorms leave 55 dead
Authorities say rainstorms that battered the south of the country last week have killed 55 people and left 14 others missing. The Ministry of Civil Affairs Web site says at least nine provinces have had storms and some flooding and landslides since Tuesday. It says Guangdong Province has been hit the hardest, with 36 deaths and 10 missing people, followed by Jiangxi Province, where six people are reported dead and four more missing. Guangdong’s weather service forecasts more heavy rain along with thunder, strong wind gusts and hail in the coming days and warns of flooding and mudslides.
Electric taxis hit streets
The territory saw its first electric taxis hit the streets on Saturday in a step toward reducing its high levels of pollution. The 45 bright red cars were launched by Chinese electric vehicle producer BYD, which is partly backed by US investment titan Warren Buffett. Called the BYD e6, the five-door crossover sedans are powered by iron phosphate batteries and take two hours to charge, a statement from BYD said, adding that they can then travel for 300km. The cars have been rented by the Hong Kong Taxi and Public Light Bus Association, which is testing them over the next six months. The government announced revisions to its air quality objectives for the first time in 25 years in January last year, after University of Hong Kong research showed pollution-related illnesses killed more than 3,000 residents a year.
PM to meet Chinese leaders
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said yesterday he would meet Beijing’s leaders in China this month, a week after unveiling an official trip to Russia, as he looks beyond strained regional ties in the South Pacific. Bainimarama has been banned from Australia and New Zealand since seizing control in a 2006 coup. His announcement that he would hold talks with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (李克強) and President Xi Jinping (習近平) came a week after he said he would meet Russian President Vladimir Putin next month when he is in Moscow for the Rugby Sevens World Cup. “I have been invited to visit China late this month to meet with the Chinese Premier, Li Keqiang, and President Xi Jinping,” Bainimarama told the Fiji Sun from France. He has previously said he wants to ditch traditional ties with Australia and New Zealand and align the nation with China. He said the Chinese understood the reforms he has been trying to implement before a return to democratic elections scheduled for next year.