Five killed in collapse
A portion of a five-story building in Mumbai collapsed in heavy monsoon rains, killing at least five people, authorities said yesterday. Rescuers used sensors and life detectors to find another five people still feared trapped in the debris of the building, said Vijayendra Dahiya, an official at the National Disaster Management Authority. Another six people were injured when the part of the structure caved in on Monday night. Another part caved in later. Police cordoned off the building fearing more of it could collapse.
Pet shop owner arrested
Police found 14 albino lions imported from Africa and hundreds of other protected animals in a warehouse near Bangkok and have arrested a pet shop owner. Birds, meerkats, tortoises, peafowls, capuchin monkeys and other species from overseas as well as animals native to the country were found at the warehouse, police Colonel Ek Ekasart said. Montri Boonprom-on, 41, faces charges of possessing wildlife and carcasses and could face up to four years in jail and a fine of 40,000 baht (US$1,300). Ek said Montri owns an exotic pet shop at the Chatuchak weekend market and was previously convicted of wildlife trading. The animals have been handed over to the Department of Natural Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation.
Chinese guilty of trafficking
A Chinese owner of a karaoke bar has been convicted of sex trafficking, the US Department of Justice said on Monday. Chang Ru Meng Backman, 40, was convicted of one count of sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion. She was the “boss lady” of the Holiday Karaoke Club and coerced Chinese women into having sex with customers for her financial benefit, the department said. Authorities said she preyed on women who had been enticed from China with promises of legitimate work on a farm, hotel or restaurant. Backman faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a maximum term of life imprisonment. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 13.
The Civil Aviation Department has grounded the country’s Chinese-made MA60 planes for safety checks following two landing incidents involving the aircraft in the past month, a senior official said yesterday. An MA60 carrying about 60 passengers skidded off a runway at a southern airport on Monday, but nobody was injured. An MA60 overshot the end of a runway at an airport in eastern Shan State last month, injuring two people. The same type of aircraft crash-landed at an Indonesian airport on Monday, slightly injuring two people.
Doctors warned over dengue
The Ministry of Health has told doctors to be more vigilant against dengue fever as the mosquito-borne disease surges this year. The city-state has had more than 9,000 cases and two deaths since January. That is twice the total for all of last year. Part of the reason for this year’s increase is that the dengue virus seems to be showing more strength and resistance, said Asok Kurup, a doctor at Mount Elizabeth Hospital’s infectious diseases care center, who has treated dozens of cases of dengue this year. Authorities say they are stepping up fumigation with insecticide and public awareness campaigns are being planned.
Iraqi charged at tribunal
An Iraqi prisoner identified as a senior al-Qaeda commander has been charged in the Guantanamo war crimes tribunal with firing on a medical evacuation helicopter and using unlawful tactics to wage war on US and allied forces in Afghanistan. The US military made the charges against Abd al-Hadi public in a statement as it prepared to start two weeks of pre-trial hearings yesterday for other alleged al-Qaeda operatives in the tribunals at the Guantanamo Bay naval base. Prosecutors allege that al-Hadi funded and oversaw all of al-Qaeda’s operations against US and allied forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan between March 2002 and 2004.