Landslides kill 15 in south
Heavy rains brought by a typhoon triggered landslides in the south that buried homes and vehicles and killed at least 15 people, as the number of dead or missing from recent flooding in the country surged past 200. Nine people were reported killed in Hunan Province and six in Guangxi, where vehicles were covered in mud and rocks along a mountain highway, local flood control offices said. The deaths come after three people died on Sunday in a landslide near the Guangxi city of Wuzhou. Rains brought by last week’s Typhoon Utor have caused severe flooding across Hunan, Guangxi and Guangdong Province.
Pyongyang accuses Park
Pyongyang yesterday accused South Korean President Park Geun-hye of provocative war-mongering a day after Seoul launched an annual military drill with the US. Rather than criticizing the joint exercise itself — as it has often done in the past —Pyongyang focused its anger on comments Park made at a meeting of her National Security Council that coincided with the start of the drill on Monday. “No matter how peaceful things are, a crisis would come if we forget about war,” Park said. “It is very important to ensure firm security preparedness in any circumstances.” Pyongyang’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea said Park’s comments amounted to an “agitation for extreme confrontation” and poured “cold water” on the recent efforts at reconciliation.
Giant ibis nest found
Jubilant conservationists yesterday expressed hope for the survival of the critically endangered giant ibis after a nest of the bird species was discovered in a previously unknown habitat in northeastern province of Stung Treng. Habitat loss and poaching has pushed the giant ibis to the edge of extinction, with only about 345 of the reclusive creatures — left in the world. A farmer discovered the nesting site a few kilometers inland in the biodiverse Mekong Flooded Forest area last month, the WWF said in a statement. “The discovery of the Giant Ibis nest on the Mekong is extremely significant because it provides hope for the species’ survival,” said Sok Ko, Forestry Administration official and Bird Nest Project officer with the WWF.
Sharif offers olive branch
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called for better relations with India in a conciliatory gesture on national television on Monday after weeks of increased military activity along the two nations’ disputed border. “I have made better relations with India my priority. And in the May election, the nation stood by me,” Sharif said in a speech, referring to his landslide victory in recent polls. “Wars between India and Pakistan have put us behind decades. Now we should not be fighting one another but come together to fight poverty and illiteracy.”
Army starts exercises
The Ground Self-Defense Forces put on display yesterday in an annual exercise at the foot of Mount Fuji intended to showcase the nation’s ability to defend itself and to drum up support for plans to give the army a broader role at home and abroad. Designed more as a spectacle than a training opportunity, the exercises focus on a scenario in which Japan is attacked from the sea. As a narrator explained the attack to thousands of spectators in grandstands, a wide array of aircraft, artillery, tanks and helicopters fired on targets at Fuiji’s base.