Tainted liquor kills 33
More than 30 people have died after drinking tainted liquor in Mumbai, police said yesterday. Praveen Satpal, a local police constable, said 18 people died on Thursday night, hours after they drank the cheap liquor in a Mumbai slum. Dozens of others fell ill and the death toll had climbed to 33 by yesterday, he said. More than two dozen others were being treated in hospitals in the Malad suburb of Mumbai. Police have detained one man and were questioning him about illegally brewing and selling the toxic drink to poor workers in the slum. Deaths from drinking illegally brewed alcohol are common in India because the poor cannot afford licensed liquor.
Hotel fire kills at least 10
A massive fire raced through a hotel in Pratapgarh, Uttar Pradesh state, killing at least 10 people and injuring several others, police said yesterday. The fire broke out early yesterday in a restaurant and spread to the hotel next door, Superintendent Balikaran Singh Yadav said. Most of the hotel guests were asleep when the fire started at 3am. Yadav said the cause of the fire was a short circuit. “The fire spread through the hotel before people could raise an alarm,” Yadav said. “Most guests were asleep and they could not escape.”
Visas waived for EU nations
The government is waiving the need for tourist visas for five more European nations in a bid to boost its ailing tourism industry. Under a decision by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung that was posted on the government’s Web site late on Wednesday, visitors from Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Spain will not need a visa to visit the nation starting next month if they only stay up to 15 days. The decision was welcomed by tour operators. Last year, nearly 8 million foreigners visited. The nation gives reciprocal visa exemptions to nine countries in ASEAN and unilaterally waives visas for visitors from the four Nordic countries, Russia, Belarus, Japan and South Korea.
Visa procedures unveiled
Britain and Belgium yesterday announced new streamlined visa procedures for Chinese aiming to visit both Britain and the wider Schengen area. The two EU nations said the pilot scheme would allow Chinese tourists and businesspeople to apply for visas for Britain and Belgium — which is a member of the Schengen area — through a single visit to application centers in Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai. The new scheme is to launch on July 1. Under the Schengen system, visitors who obtain a Belgian visa can also visit any of the other 25 nations in the area. “This scheme will create a one-stop shop for Chinese visitors to the UK and Europe, whether they are coming here for business or leisure,” British Home Secretary Theresa May said in a statement.
Worker uncovers grenades
A construction worker knew he had struck metal with the shovel of his excavator, but it took police to determine what he had unearthed — nearly 400 live World War II grenades. The discovery in the Tyrolean city of Innsbruck on Thursday led to the evacuation of apartments closest to the find, while bomb disposal experts defused some of the ordnance and blew up the rest. No one was injured. Police believe the grenades were part of an underground ammunition depot.
‘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
FOX HUNT: To suppress dissent, Chinese living abroad that Xi Jinping sees as threats are told to either return to China or commit suicide, Christopher Wray said Chinese agents have been pursuing hundreds of Chinese nationals living in the US in an effort to force their return, as part of a global campaign against the country’s diaspora, known as Operation Fox Hunt, FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Tuesday. In a speech about the security threat posed by China, during which he said Beijing’s counterintelligence work was the “greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property, and to our economic vitality,” Wray gave the example of one Fox Hunt target who was given a choice of going back to China or killing themselves. Fox Hunt was launched
‘FIGHT FOR FREEDOM’: Hong Kongers will never bow to Beijing, the advocate said, while the US’ envoy to the territory called China’s new security law a ‘tragedy’ The world must stand in solidarity with Hong Kongers after Beijing imposed sweeping national security legislation on the semi-autonomous territory, advocate Joshua Wong (黃之鋒) said yesterday, vowing to continue campaigning for democracy. Wong, one of the territory’s most prominent young advocates and a figure loathed by Beijing, was speaking outside a court where he and fellow advocates are being prosecuted for involvement in last year’s pro-democracy protests. China last week enacted sweeping security legislation for the restless territory, banning acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. The legislation has sent a wave of fear through the territory, and criminalized dissenting
A squad of gun-toting police officers patrolled Myanmar’s sacred site of Bagan under the cover of night, taking on plunderers snatching relics from temples forsaken by tourists due to COVID-19 restrictions. Each evening as dusk falls, about 100 officers fan out across the plain of Bagan covering 50km2, sweeping flashlights over the crumbling monuments to scour for intruders. “Our security forces are patrolling day and night,” Police Lieutenant Colonel Sein Win told reporters. “We have it under control for the moment, but it’s a challenge.” The central Burmese city is strewn with more than 3,500 ancient monuments — stupas, temples, murals and sculptures