Eight die in elevator incident
Eight people were killed when the construction elevator they were in plummeted from an apartment building, a local government said yesterday. The Longkou city government in Shandong Province said on its official microblog that the elevator fell from the 18th story of the building under construction. Eight people who were in the elevator when it fell on Friday were immediately taken to hospitals, but none survived, the government said. Despite improvements in recent years, work safety remains a problem in the nation, where regulations are routinely ignored and cost-cutting by management often leads to accidents.
Moonshine kills 17 workers
Seventeen laborers died and about a dozen are fighting for their lives after drinking toxic homemade liquor, police said yesterday, in the nation’s latest incident of alcohol poisoning. Police in Uttar Pradesh state’s Etah District said the victims started to vomit and fall sick, complaining of severe stomach aches and blurred vision, after consuming the moonshine late on Friday. “Seventeen people have died since [Friday] night and about 12 are still in the hospital, very ill,” a local police officer told reporters on the condition of anonymity. The officer said a local vendor was arrested late on Saturday after police registered a formal case against him for culpable homicide. “The vendor obviously mixed some chemical in the last batch ... police are investigating the matter,” he added. Hundreds of poor people die every year in the country due to alcohol poisoning, mostly from consuming cheap hooch.
Alleged refugee in custody
A man claiming to have escaped North Korea was being held under police protection after he was found wandering in a western city, local media reported yesterday. The man told police that he left North Korea by ship last week, public broadcaster NHK and the Asahi Shimbun said, without clarifying why he was on board. He then jumped off the boat and swam ashore in Yamaguchi Prefecture by holding onto a floating plastic container, the news reports said. The man, whose name was withheld, was found wandering in Nagato on Saturday morning and taken in by police, they added. Kyodo news agency quoted the man, wearing a black T-shirt and trousers, as saying he was born in 1990, but did not have anything to prove his identity. After questioning, police are to hand him over to immigration authorities to determine whether he is a North Korean defector who needs protection and assistance, Kyodo said.
Floods kill nine in Darfur
Heavy rains and flash floods in the war-torn region of Darfur on Saturday killed nine people, the official SUNA news agency reported. The deaths occurred in the town of al-Fashir, the capital of the state of North Darfur. “Heavy rains lashed the north and east parts of al-Fashir, causing floods in two rivers,” al-Fashir municipal commissioner Eltijani Abdullah Salah told SUNA. Salah said nine people drowned in the floods, including two from a camp for internally displaced people. UN aid agencies had warned of flooding in Sudan between this month and November. Darfur has seen violence since 2003, when ethnic minority rebels rose up against President Omar al-Bashir, accusing his Arab-dominated government of marginalizing the region, after which al-Bashir mounted a brutal counterinsurgency campaign.
Drug trafficker detained
Authorities, backed by Interpol, have captured a suspected leader of a major international drug-trafficking group who is sought by Brazil, police said on Saturday. Jose Esteyman Poveda, also known as “Provenzano,” was part of the so-called Gulf Clan, the criminal organization of Daniel Barrera, or “El Loco Barrera,” who was extradited to the US in 2013, they said. Members of a specialized national anti-narcotics unit carried out the operation with support from Interpol in the densely populated Lijaca neighborhood on the northern edge of Bogota. Poveda would be charged with narco-trafficking activities “as well as with international alliances [to traffickers] in Bolivia and Brazil and the control of cocaine-smuggling routes,” police said.
Man nabbed with bombs
A Palestinian carrying pipe bombs in his bag was arrested yesterday and the explosives disarmed near a light rail tram station in downtown Jerusalem, police said. The suspect, a resident of Beit Ula near Hebron in the occupied West Bank, was standing behind a station carrying a bag when he raised the suspicion of a tram guard, police said. The guard examined the bag, saw what appeared to be bombs, and called the police.
Car auction a success
Customs officials say more than 100 mostly vintage Soviet cars abandoned by migrants crossing the nation’s border with Russia have been sold in a two-day auction that drew about 1,300 car aficionados to the Arctic. The government netted about 19,000 euros (US$20,969) for selling 129 cars, Salla customs unit spokesman Sampo Vaisanen said on Saturday. Many were rusty Soviet-era Ladas and Volgas from the 1970s and 1980s that had been left by migrants earlier this year after the government barred people from crossing the vehicles-only border point in Salla on bicycles for safety reasons. The highest price in the auction was paid for a rare Volga 3010 model, which sold for 1,200 euros to the Salla Municipality “as a souvenir,” county official Asko Viitanen said.
Disney World rehires intern
A Walt Disney World intern is back on the job after she was briefly fired for tweeting a photograph of a sign telling employees how to respond to questions about alligators in the theme park’s waters. The Orlando Sentinel reported that Shannon Sullivan was fired last week after posting the photograph. It told employees that if guests ask whether alligators live in the park’s waters, they should say: “Not that we know of… Please do not say that we have seen them before.” Sullivan told her bosses that it was misleading. Disney said the sign had not been authorized. A two-year-old boy was killed by an alligator at the park last month.
Card number is sex line
Some holders of Maine’s electronic benefits transfer cards find that dialing the telephone number on the back of the cards gets them a sex line, not their balances. A Maine Department of Health and Human Services spokesman told the Sun Journal that officials have been aware for months that the telephone number on some cards is off by one digit. Lj Langelier, of Lewiston, discovered the error last week when he went to check his bank card balance before going to the grocery store. What he got instead was a message welcoming him to “America’s hottest talk line.” The department plans to replace the misprinted cards.
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
AUSTRALIAN SITE: China has had a contract with SSC’s Yatharagga station since at least 2011, but the last time it used it was in June 2013. No final date has been given China would lose access to a strategic space tracking station in Western Australia when its contract expires, the facility’s owners said, a decision that cuts into Beijing’s expanding space exploration and navigational capabilities in the Pacific region. The Swedish Space Corp (SSC) has had a contract allowing Beijing access to the satellite antenna at the station since at least 2011. The station is located next to an SSC satellite station primarily used by the US and its agencies, including NASA. The Swedish state-owned company said it would not enter into any new contracts at the Australian site to support Chinese customers after
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
The scarcity of commercial flights landing at Sydney Airport has been a disaster for airlines and workers, but for hobby pilots the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the opportunity of a lifetime. The quieter-than-usual runways mean that private pilots have been given the chance to land at the international airport for the first time. When Sydney Flight College club captain Tim Lindley put out a call, he received an overwhelming response. He eventually organized for 14 light aircraft to fly into Sydney airport on Sunday. “For a lot of the pilots involved, including myself, it was a childhood dream to land in a big