Earthquakes hit northeast
Multiple earthquakes hit northeastern areas yesterday, with a magnitude 5.5 the strongest among them, according to seismologists, causing serious damage to homes. The magnitude 5.5 quake hit at 6:04am, 34km north of Changling in Jilin Province at a shallow depth of 12.5km, the US Geological Survey said. It was followed around thirty minutes later by a magnitude 4.9 quake just south of Qian’an, with a similar tremor felt a day earlier in the same area. State TV images showed seriously damaged houses, some with roofs or walls partially collapsed. Some villages lost power, according to Xinhua news agency, which did not mention casualties.
Surfer killed by shark
A surfer was killed by a shark yesterday off a notorious stretch of the west coast. No one saw the attack yesterday morning off a beach near Gracetown, but the surfer’s injuries were consistent with a shark attack, Western Australia state police spokesman Samuel Dinnison said. The sleepy community of Gracetown has now been the site of three fatal shark attacks on surfers in the past decade. Surfers have been killed in 2004 and 2010. A passerby came upon the gored victim, who had been surfing alone, and called an ambulance. Dinnison said it was not yet clear whether the victim was still alive when he was found or how he got out of the water. The victim has yet to be identified.
Boy used as drug mule
Police found a seven-year-old boy from Myanmar crying alone at a bus stop with almost 10,000 methamphetamine pills in his backpack, officers said yesterday. The child was discovered on Thursday evening in the Thong Pha Phum District of Kanchanaburi Province near the border with Myanmar, local police said. “Officers approached him and asked him questions, but he could not speak Thai,” district police chief Colonel Amnuay Pongsawat said. He said the drugs were found in about 50 plastic bags wedged into two baby powder bottles. “It is the first time that we have seen drug trafficking gangs use a child as a courier,” Amnuay said. He said he believed the boy had been dropped off by an uncle. The UN sounded the alarm this month over record seizures of methamphetamine in parts of Asia. In its pill form — known as yaba, which means “crazy medicine” — the narcotic is used both as a party drug and pick-me-up for low-paid workers with long hours.
Miners killed in landslide
At least 12 illegal miners have been killed and several are missing after a landslide at a goldmine in a northeastern part of the country, a security source and locals said on Thursday. The collapse happened Tuesday night near the city of Siguiri, a member of the security forces said. Witnesses said that emergency workers were continuing to search for survivors and bodies on Thursday. “We might never know the number of people buried in the shafts that are 20m to 25m deep because the search operation is being carried out by hand, with shovels and picks,” a local journalist said. It is the fifth such disaster in a fortnight in the Siguiri area, with the previous landslides killing four people, including three women, according to locals. “There was an awareness campaign and warnings were put out repeatedly to prevent illegal miners going down into the shafts,” the security source said.