Police identifies ‘terrorists’
Police said the nine people responsible for a deadly “terrorist attack” in the western region of Xinjiang were promoting religious extremism, state media reported yesterday. Xinjiang is home to a Turkic-speaking Muslim people known as Uighurs, some of whom resent what they see as oppressive treatment by the government. The Xinjiang government said police shot dead eight people on Monday during the attack in Yarkand County close to the old Silk Road city of Kashgar in Xinjiang’s south. The violence raised the death toll from clashes there to at least 35 since November. Xinhua said late on Monday that an initial probe showed the gang, led by Usman Barat and Abdugheni Abdukhadir, had gathered to watch “terrorist” videos and promote religious extremist ideas since August. They had also raised funds, made and tested explosives for planned terrorist attacks, Xinhua cited Xinjiang police as saying. Judging from their names, the suspects appear to be Uighur, Xinhua said.
Cyclone lashes west coast
A powerful cyclone lashed the nation’s resources-rich west coast yesterday, bringing torrential rain and gales that ripped up trees and roofs and closed major global iron ore operations. Tropical Cyclone Christine made landfall after midnight as a category 3 storm out of a maximum 5, bringing winds in excess of 170km per hour and heavy rain that cut power to several towns, brought down trees and damaged homes. Christine weakened to a category 2 while heading inland, with destructive wind gusts of between 110km to 130km per hour. A red alert requiring people to remain indoor was lifted later yesterday for coastal towns, though residents of inland settlements Tom Price and Paraburdoo were urged to seek shelter and stay away from doors and windows as the front passed. Some witnesses said it was among the worst storms they had seen.
Factory owners charged
A court has issued arrest warrants for two owners of a garment factory and four of their employees on homicide charges for the deaths of 112 workers in a fire that engulfed the factory in 2012. Prosecutor Anwarul Kabir Babul said that Judge Wasim Sheikh issued the arrest warrants yesterday for the six, including owners Delwar Hossain and his wife, Mahmuda Akter. Police said the six have fled and it is not known where they are. If they are not found by Feb. 25 when the court sits, they could be tried in absentia for the charges connected with the fire that destroyed the factory in November 2012.
Earthquake hits, no damage
A shallow magnitude 5.1 earthquake hit eastern regions yesterday, the US Geological Survey said, but there were no local reports of any damage. The quake hit at 10:03am in Ibaraki Prefecture, 146km northeast of Tokyo, the agency said. The tremor was 9.9km deep, the agency said. Located about 80km southwest of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, the quake was strong enough to gently rock high-rise buildings in the capital. The Meteorological Agency earlier estimated the quake’s magnitude at 5.4. It was followed eight minutes later by a very shallow magnitude 3.6 quake in the same area, according to the agency. Tokyo Electric Power Co said the quakes did not affect the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, where crews are working through the holiday season to cool reactors crippled by the 2011 tsunami.