Suicide blast kills 34
The death toll from a suicide attack at a funeral rose to 34 yesterday after seven victims died overnight in hospital, police said. “The death toll has risen to 34. Seven more critically injured have died in hospital,” police official Tahir Ayub said. Another 43 people were still being treated for injuries in hospital after Tuesday’s attack in Shergarh Town in Mardan District, 145km northwest of Islamabad. The bomber struck as mourners gathered for funeral prayers for the owner of a local fuel station. There has been no claim of responsibility, but police said the target was Imran Khan Mohmand, an independent lawmaker in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial assembly who won a seat in elections last month.
Rapist gets life for murder
A serial sex offender was yesterday sentenced to life in prison for raping and murdering an Irish woman while he was free on parole after previous convictions for raping five women. Adrian Ernest Bayley, 41, was sentenced by the Victoria state Supreme Court in Melbourne, and cannot be considered for parole for 35 years. He pleaded guilty to raping and strangling Jill Meagher as she walked home from a bar after an evening out with work colleagues on Sept. 22 last year in Melbourne. The court heard that Meagher rejected a colleague’s offer to escort her home. Bayley accosted her on a busy street and dragged her into a lane only a few hundred meters from her home. He was caught on closed circuit TV approaching her. The 29-year-old Meagher was born in the Irish port city of Drogheda and worked in an administrative position for the Australian Broadcasting Corp. Her husband, Tom Meagher, told the court his faith in mankind had been destroyed. “I think of the waste of a brilliant mind and a beautiful soul at the hands of a grotesque and soulless human being,” he said in his victim impact statement. “I am half a person because of this crime.”
Bus crash in valley kills 15
A bus carrying 36 people veered from a road in heavy fog and crashed into a valley in the Xinjiang region, killing at least 15 people, state media reported. The accident happened on Tuesday afternoon when the bus was traveling to a tourist spot near Changji City, Xinhua news agency reported. A Changji police official, who gave only his surname, Ma, confirmed the accident, but did not have any information about casualties. Road accidents are common in China because of poor road conditions and bad driving habits.
Smog angers locals, tourists
The city-state’s smog problem from forest fires in Indonesia worsened yesterday, as air pollutant levels reached a 16-year high. Foreign tourists and convention delegates joined Singaporeans in complaining about the smoky haze enveloping the nation of 5.3 million inhabitants, which welcomed 14.4 million visitors last year. The Pollutant Standards Index soared to 172 at 3pm, well past the officially designated “unhealthy” threshold of 100, according to the National Environment Agency Web site. It was the city-state’s worst haze reading since September 1997 when the number peaked at 226. The reading rose to 155 on Monday night, overtaking the second-highest reading of 150 recorded in 2006.
Southeast Asia’s haze crisis in 1997 to 1998 caused widespread health problems and cost the regional economy billions of dollars as a result of business and air transport disruptions.