Wed, Jun 10, 2015 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

Agencies

TAJIKISTAN

Internet blocks eased

The government on Monday lifted blocks on Web sites including Facebook and YouTube that it imposed after a police chief appeared in an online video announcing his defection to the Islamic State group. Local Internet providers restored access to sites that also included Russian social networks Odnoklassniki and VKontakte, as well as popular independent news agency Asia Plus, after pressure from the US. However, a block on the Tajik service of Radio Free Europe, Radio Ozodi, was not lifted. Access to the Web sites had been blocked since May 28, a day after 40-year-old Colonel Gulmurod Halimov appeared in footage blasting the nation’s anti-Islamic policies and swearing loyalty to Islamic State. Halimov headed the special forces unit in the Ministry of Interior and received anti-terrorism training in the US prior to his defection, the US Department of State confirmed last month.

AUSTRALIA

Truck hits cafe, 19 hurt

Nineteen people were hurt yesterday after a pickup truck smashed into a cafe in Queensland, sparking a fire that engulfed the building, police said. Officials were trying to figure out what caused the driver to veer off the road and into the Serves You Right Cafe in Ravenshoe, south of Cairns. The crash caused a gas canister at the cafe to explode, Queensland police spokesman Todd Saunders said. Three people were seriously injured and flown to a hospital in Cairns, he said. The others were being treated at local hospitals. The driver was among those who were hurt. Kate Lewis, who works in a supermarket across from the cafe, described the scene as horrific. “We just heard a massive sonic boom and went running out and saw the cafe on fire and lots of burned people,” she told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

INDIA

Public loo users to be paid

A city council is planning to pay residents to use public toilets to stop legions of people urinating and defecating in public. The Ahmedabad Municipal Corp (AMC) has decided to give residents one rupee (US$0.016) per visit to draw them into its 300 public toilets and away from open areas and public walls, which often reek of urine. AMC health officer Bhavikk Joshi said the offer would be trialed at 67 facilities across Ahmedabad, the main city in Gujarat State, where officers will give a coin to each user. “Once successful, the project will be implemented in all 300 public toilets in Ahmedabad,” Joshi said on Monday. AMC standing committee chairman Pravin Patel said repeat offenders would be “identified and encouraged” to use the coin-paying toilets.

IRAN

Pilgrims die of poisoning

Authorities have arrested five people over the deaths of four young Saudi pilgrims as a result of fumigation in their hotel, officials said on Monday. The Islamic Republic news agency quoted judiciary spokesman Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejehi as saying that authorities are investigating the incident. The five arrested are hotel employees. “There is no evidence to show the incident was a deliberate act,” Ejehi said. The news agency said the victims included a 14-year-old girl and three young boys, all aged 3. Ejehi said 24 other people were hospitalized for exposure to a poison commonly used to kill insects and rats. The incident took place in the city of Mashhad, which is home to a major Shiite Muslim Shrine. The state-run Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization said in a statement that insect repellent sprayed on the fifth floor of the hotel accidentally leaked into the rooms.

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