Billiard hall blast kills three
The death toll from a bomb blast in a billiard hall near a crowded town carnival has risen to three, officials said yesterday. The death toll rose overnight after one of the wounded died in hospital, said Captain Jo-ann Petinglay, an army spokeswoman. Another 22 people were wounded in the blast. Mayor Joselito Pinol said two men left the bomb, which was apparently concealed in a bag, at the billiard hall late on Sunday in the town of Mlang in North Corabato province. The two men left hurriedly on a motorcycle before the blast happened. Pinol said bomb shrapnel and flying debris hit people in the billiard hall and at a nearby carnival. The blast damaged the billiard hall. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.
Excrement fells building
A cesspool filled with excrement has exploded, injuring 15 people and knocking down a building, state-run media reported. The blast was apparently sparked by a local man burning waste close to the cesspool, igniting methane gas which was emanating from the pit, Xinhua news agency said late on Sunday. The incident in Zhangjiajie, in the central province of Hunan, caused a residential building to collapse and three of the injured had to be hospitalized, Xinhua said. China’s urban infrastructure has often been hastily built with little regard for safety as hundreds of millions of people have moved from the countryside to cities in recent decades. In another excrement-related incident, a man and his mother both died trying to retrieve his wife’s new mobile phone — worth 2,000 yuan (US$320) — from a septic tank, reports said in May. The man jumped in to try to locate the phone, but was overcome by fumes and passed out, according to Dahe, a Web portal run by the provincial government in Henan Province.
WWII bomb wreaks havoc
Three thousand people were evacuated from their homes in the center of Rennes on Sunday while a 250kg British bomb from World War II was being diffused. The bomb was found near the city’s town hall during the building of a new metro line in the capital of the Brittany region, Rennes Mayor Nathalie Appere said. She said it was packed with 70kg of high explosives and police bomb disposal experts faced a very “delicate operation” to disarm it. “They are having to diffuse it manually rather than with one of their radio-controlled devices,” she said. Police evacuated all homes and businesses within 270m of the scene just before 9am, including a fire station and 90 residents of a home for the elderly. Several hundred people were taken to a nearby hall, where volunteers offered them coffee and hot chocolate. Rennes, a major railway junction, was the target of several raids by Britain’s RAF during the war, including a major attack in 1944.
Band Aid 30 grab No. 1 spot
Band Aid 30’s reworked version of Do They Know it’s Christmas, a song intended to raise money to fight the spread of Ebola in Africa, went straight to the top of the singles charts on Sunday, Official Charts Co said. The track was inspired by a celebrity song of the same name with different lyrics which was recorded in 1984 and raised millions to fight famine in Africa. The new song has drawn criticism from some Africans, who say it is patronizing and perpetuates unhelpful myths about the continent’s problems. The track’s organizers have strongly rejected those comments, saying it will raise much-needed funds to fight Ebola.
Zoo escapee hit by car
A bighorn sheep escaped from the Los Angeles Zoo at Griffith Park on Saturday and dashed around the hills in the park for hours before it ended up on a residential street where it was struck by a car and died, a zoo spokeswoman said. The sheep got free from its enclosure and darted through an area where visitors were gathered. It escaped the zoo, probably by jumping a fence, and scampered around the hills of the park, zoo spokeswoman April Spurlock said. The animal was struck by a car on a residential street near the Greek Theatre, she said. The concert venue is about 3.2km southwest of the zoo. Veterinarians and animal care staff set up a perimeter around the sheep and tranquilized it. The animal died a short time later, Spurlock said, and it appears the sheep succumbed to injuries from being hit by the car but a necropsy is planned to determine the exact cause of death. The car’s driver did not stop after hitting the bighorn.
Kitty traveler’s home found
An Albuquerque cat owner can sleep easier now that the kitten that went missing last month will be home for the holidays, despite a mysterious 3,701km side trip to Maine. Patsy Murphy, who runs an animal refuge center in Westbrook, Maine, said the kitten was brought to her shelter on Nov. 11 by a man who found it in a duffel bag while unloading furniture at a Catholic charity. The kitten was found inside the bag with food and kitty litter. Murphy said Maine resident Bob Watterson brought the kitten home on Nov. 5, and cared for it for six days before he turned it over to the animal refuge, which found a microchip in the cat that could identify it. Murphy was shocked when the cat was traced back to New Mexico, and it remained unknown exactly how the cat made its way to Maine. “We immediately contacted the owner to begin working on returning her the kitten,” Murphy said, adding that a Maine businessman offered to pay the cat’s transportation cost home. She said the cat would be sent home after it is treated for a respiratory infection, likely in about a week’s time.
Chestnut wins turkey eat
Competitive eater Joey Chestnut has won a turkey-eating contest in Connecticut, setting a record by devouring an entire bird. Ten contestants vied to see who could eat the most of a 9kg turkey in a competition on Saturday at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket. Chestnut ate 4.24kg of meat off the bone in 10 minutes. According to Major League Eating, he bested the previous record, which was held by Sonya Thomas, who ate 2.38kg of turkey in November 2011. Chestnut, a San Jose, California, resident who turns 31 tomorrow, is ranked the top competitive eater in the world. Chestnut took home a US$5,000 check.
Sea lion deaths probed
Authorities are investigating the deaths of about 500 sea lions whose rotting corpses were found on a northern beach. Environmental police on Sunday told the official Andina news agency that the decomposing bodies of adult and juvenile sea lions were found on a beach in Santa Province about 400km north of Lima. Police are investigating a complaint from the governor of Samanco district, who said the sea mammals had been poisoned by marine farmers and fishermen who harvest shellfish. City workers hauled away the corpses, which risked posing a health hazard.
Japan said it opposed changes to the G7 nations as it pushed back against a reform plan by US President Donald Trump that would have rival South Korea this year join in an expanded meeting. Tokyo has told the US it stands against South Korea’s participation on the grounds of differences in policy on China and North Korea, Kyodo News reported this weekend, citing more than one source related to Japanese and US diplomacy. Japan also wants to maintain its status as the only Asian country in the group, the news agency added. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga yesterday told reporters that
The onset of summer has sparked a rise in incidents of “mask rage” in South Korea as more hot and bothered commuters either refuse to wear face coverings or leave parts of their faces exposed. In South Korea, Japan and other countries in East Asia, widespread mask wearing has been cited as one possible explanation for the region’s relative success in bringing the COVID-19 pandemic under control. South Korea, one of the first countries outside China to be affected by the virus, flattened the coronavirus curve in April, although it is now struggling with dozens of daily cases, mainly in and around
‘WOULD NOT COMPLY’: The company’s user data are kept in Singapore and it would not turn the data over to Beijing even if asked, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said Social media app TikTok has distanced itself from Beijing after India banned 59 Chinese apps in the country, according to a correspondence seen by Reuters. In a letter to the Indian government dated on Sunday last week and seen by Reuters on Friday, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said the Chinese government has never requested user data, nor would the company turn it over if asked. TikTok, which is not available in China, is owned by China’s ByteDance, but has sought to distance itself from its Chinese roots to appeal to a global audience. Along with 58 other Chinese apps, including Tencent
PLAYING THE VICTIM? A Chinese spokesman sent a statement to Australian media saying that Beijing had ‘irrefutable’ evidence of Canberra’s widescale espionage Australia yesterday unveiled the “largest-ever” boost in cybersecurity spending, days after Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison spoke out about a wave of state-sponsored attacks suspected to have been carried out by China. Morrison and government officials said the country would spend an additional A$1.35 billion (US$928 million) on cybersecurity, about a 10 percent hike, taking the budget for the next decade to A$15 billion. The largest chunk of the new money would help create 500 jobs within the Australian Signals Directorate, the government’s communications intelligence agency. Morrison on June 19 said that a “state-based actor” was targeting a host of