Bus falls off ravine, 14 dead
Fourteen people, including two foreigners, were killed and 31 were injured as a tourist bus fell into a deep ravine in the northern Mountain Province, police said yesterday. The bus carrying 45 people was traveling on a narrow road when it fell about 120m into the ravine, local police chief Senior Superintendent Oliver Enmodias said. Fourteen of the passengers died on the spot, including a Canadian and a Dutch national, he said. Among the injured were a Dutch woman and the driver of the bus, who were taken to hospital, Enmodias said. Local police spokesman Superintendent Davy Vicente Limmong said they suspect human error or a mechanical problem was the cause of the accident, as there was no traffic and the weather was clear.
Stolen relics recovered
Police yesterday said they have recovered a golden urn stolen last year that contains what are considered to be remnants of Buddha’s body. The urn was taken from a mountain shrine 40km outside the capital in mid-December. National police spokesman Kirt Chantharith said it was recovered on Thursday from a house in the southern province of Takeo, and one man was arrested in connection with the theft. Several countries in Asia process relics believed to come from the body of Buddha, and the urn stolen two months ago holds enormous religious and cultural significance for the predominantly Buddhist nation.
Amnesty International yesterday said the government has postponed plans to execute a man for murder in a case that sparked an outcry from Amnesty International. Chandran Paskaran was sentenced to hang in 2008 for killing another man in a fight five years earlier in the southern state of Johor. Amnesty had earlier learned that the execution of Chandran, 35, was set for yesterday. However, the execution was halted on the order of Johor’s state sultan, Amnesty International Malaysia executive director Shamini Darshni said. “The risk to his life, however, is not over, and his death sentence must be commuted immediately,” Shamini said in a later statement.
Police charged with rape
Two police officers were yesterday charged with raping a woman while on duty in a case Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said was a blow to the force’s reputation. The men, aged 28 and 29, were each charged with five counts of rape, one count of assault with intent to commit rape, and with deprivation of liberty. Neither entered a plea when they faced the Mackay Magistrates Court yesterday morning, with both of them granted bail. It is alleged they raped the woman in Mackay, 970km north of Brisbane, on Sunday last week. She filed a complaint on Monday, which sparked an internal investigation.
Lawyer demands testimony
The vice president and top tax collector are one step closer to being charged or absolved in a corruption case. A federal prosecutor says evidence supports requiring the testimony by Vice President Amado Boudou, tax agency director Ricardo Etchegaray and at least nine others accused of taking over the company that prints pesos. The bankrupt printer was sold off to a shell company linked to the vice president after he and Etchegaray intervened to lower its tax debts. Prosecutor Jorge DiLello presented his case on Thursday to Judge Ariel Lijo. He says there is evidence of crimes punishable by six years in prison and a lifetime ban from public office.