Heatwave kills at least 10
At least 10 people have died in Shanghai of heatstroke as of Friday last week, Shanghai Municipal Center for Disease Control and Prevention spokesman Leng Guangming, said, as the city grapples with its highest temperatures in at least 140 years. Much of the nation is in the grip of a summer heatwave, and the China Meteorological Association issued a high temperature warning for several eastern and central provinces, saying temperatures could reach 41°C yesterday. The temperature reached 40.6°C on Friday last week, topping a previous high of 40.2°C in 1934 and the highest since records began in 1873, Xinhua news agency said earlier.
Cadmium poisoning kills 26
At least 26 villagers have died from cadmium poisoning and hundreds more have fallen ill since 2009 near a disused factory in Hunan Province, local media said yesterday. Soil samples from Shuangqiao contained 300 times authorized cadmium levels and excess amounts were found in 500 of 3,000 villagers tested by health authorities, the China Youth Daily said. It said 26 people had died as a result of cadmium exposure in the past four years, eight of them under 60, and 20 of them from cancer, while children in the village were born with deformities. A major chemical plant operated in the village until 2009, and a “huge” industrial waste pile remains in the factory grounds, as does “an odor that will not go away,” the paper said. It described the situation as “one of the country’s 10 biggest pollution incidents.”
Troops may stay in Golan
Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario says he has reversed an earlier recommendation to President Benigno Aquino III and now wants about 340 Filipino peacekeepers to stay in the Golan Heights for at least six months after the UN promised to bolster their safety. Del Rosario told a news conference in Manila yesterday that UN officials assured him in a recent meeting in New York that they would fulfill three conditions laid down by Manila, including providing the peacekeepers with more self-defense weapons. Del Rosario asked Aquino in May to withdraw the peacekeepers because of escalating hostilities between Syrian rebels and government troops in the UN-patrolled buffer zone.
Debt shuts down province
An entire province has been plunged into darkness after the national power grid operator cut off supply because of accumulated debt of US$93 million. The blackout that started on Tuesday surprised residents of Albay, which has a population of 1.2 million. Health insurance company employee Cristie Recebido said the electricity operator issued no warning and that streets in the capital, Legazpi, were cloaked in darkness. Shops closed early, and hospitals and offices were running on generators. The Department of Energy says a disconnection notice had been served to the Albay Electric Cooperative because it failed to settle a debt of 4 billion pesos over 15 years.
Floods force 25,000 to leave
Nearly 25,000 people have been evacuated to makeshift camps after floods ravaged the east, an official said yesterday, as relief teams struggled to reach remote areas inundated by water. Flood waters have risen dramatically after several days of heavy rain in Karen State forcing thousands to flee to nearly 80 relief camps, Chum Hre, director of the social welfare, relief and resettlement department said.