Dozens buried in landslide
Between 30 and 40 people were buried by a landslide in Sichuan Province yesterday as heavy rains in the area also destroyed homes and bridges, local officials said. An official in Zhongxing said by telephone that “so far we only know 11 families were buried and more than 200 residents have been evacuated,” but that workers were still searching for others.
Singer Rain out of military
Pop start Rain is out of the military. He fired off a crisp salute yesterday and thanked a large crowd of mostly media and women who had gathered to commemorate his discharge after 21 months of mandatory service. The fans held signs reading in Korean and English: “We waited for you” and “Rain’s coming.”
Burglar was a python
Police in Queensland investigating a suspected break-in at a charity store in Ingham have discovered the culprit was a 5.7m, 17kg python. Sergeant Don Auld yesterday said officers found a damaged roof, shattered goods and a pool of vomit-like liquid on the floor. They initially thought a thief had fallen through the ceiling and then thrown up. However, shop workers spotted the python the next day. The snake has been relocated to nearby wetlands.
Glasses needed for polls
The Australian Electoral Commission is expecting so many candidates in the upcoming national polls they have ordered magnifying glasses to ensure every name on the meter-long ballot paper can be read. There were 25 parties registered to run in the Senate in the 2010 election, a number large enough to warrant a 1.02m-long ballot paper for New South Wales voters with the 84 candidate names printed in size 8.5 font. The typeface was likely to be smaller still this year, with 47 parties registered so far and nine more applications being processed.
Taliban shut Qatar office
The Taliban has temporarily closed its office in Qatar. The office opened on June 18 as the first move toward a possible peace deal after 12-years of fighting, but it enraged President Hamid Karzai by styling itself as an unofficial embassy for a government-in-exile. “We are not happy with the Americans, the Kabul government and all parties who have not been honest with us,” a Taliban spokesman said.
Officials misuse Google
Bureaucrats used the wrong privacy settings for Google Groups online discussions, allowing anyone to see internal memos, including negotiating positions for an international treaty, the government said yesterday. The Yomiuri Shimbun said it found more than 6,000 cases where information from public or private organizations, including hospital records, was publicly available. The paper admitted its journalists had also been using the wrong settings and may have revealed draft stories and interview transcripts.
Gangsters publish magazine
The Yamaguchi-gumi, nation’s biggest organized crime group, has published a magazine for its members that includes a poetry page and senior gangsters’ fishing diaries, the Sankei Shimbun reported yesterday. The front page of the Yamaguchi-gumi Shinpo carries a first-person piece by the group’s leader instructing younger members in the values and disciplines they should observe, the paper said.
Last kingpin extradited
Daniel “El Loco” Barrera, the last of the country’s major drug lords, was extradited to the US on Tuesday, where there had been a US$5 million reward for his capture, local police said. Barrera, who was captured in Venezuela last year and deported to Colombia, was turned over to US Drug Enforcement Administration agents in Bogota and put on a plane to New York. Barrera is wanted by authorities in New York and Florida for allegedly smuggling tonnes of cocaine into the US between 1992 and last year.