Sun, Jan 21, 2018 - Page 5 News List

Wolrd News Quick Take

Agencies

SOUTH KOREA

Drunk sets motel ablaze

Five people were killed and four hospitalized yesterday in an arson attack on a motel in downtown Seoul, police said. A 53-year-old man who said he started the blaze was arrested. Witnesses said a delivery man carried out the attack in a fit of anger after being denied a room at the two-story motel for allegedly being drunk. The man, identified only by his surname, Yu, bought 10 liters of gasoline at a nearby service station, poured it on the ground floor and set it ablaze, they said. Neighbors used fire extinguishers in an attempt to tame the blaze, but were unable to bring it under control.

AUSTRALIA

Bushfire traps tourists

Holidaymakers trapped by a bushfire had to be rescued by boat from a national park south of Sydney as a heatwave struck the eastern seaboard yesterday. Firefighters in the state of New South Wales issued an emergency warning to visitors in the Royal National Park as the blaze threatened the main access road to a popular tourist spot called Wedding Cake Rock, where people posted pictures of the billowing smoke to social media. “Beaches may offer safety,” the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) said in a Facebook post as aircraft water-bombers attempted to slow the fire and emergency warnings were sent to the mobile phones of all people in the area. “Firefighters, police, surf lifesavers and National Parks personnel are working with people at beaches in the Royal National Park to help manage their relocation as it’s safe to do so — including by boat and road escort,” the RFS wrote on Facebook.

PAKISTAN

Radio shut for ‘distorting’

The country on Friday shut down the US-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Pashto-language station for airing content “against the interest of Pakistan.” The office of RFE/RL’s Radio Mashaal in the capital Islamabad was ordered closed by the Ministry of the Interior, which said Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency — the country’s top spy agency — had found its programs to be “in-line with [a] hostile intelligence agency’s agenda.” The notification, posted on the RFE/RL Web site and seen by AFP reporters separately, did not identify the agency. It accused Radio Mashaal of portraying Pakistan as a “failed state” and “a hub of terrorism and safe haven for different militant groups.” The government further alleged that the station was “distorting facts [to] incite the target population against the state and its institutions,” referring to ethnic Pashtuns.

THAILAND

Hundreds protest junta rule

Hundreds of police in Thailand yesterday blocked protesters planning to march from Bangkok to Khon Kaen in the northeast of the country in a rare display of public discontent in the junta-ruled country. Thailand has been ruled by the military since 2014. Demonstrations have since become a rarity, partly because of junta orders banning public assembly. The UN has expressed concern over what it calls a deteriorating rights situation in Thailand, including harsh sentences for those convicted of violating the lese majeste law, known as Article 112, as well as other restrictions placed on freedom of expression. “We want to tell the junta that you have taken Thailand back a long way. The people in the agriculture ministry are all generals. There are just generals!” one protest leader said. “Let’s hold hands! We are friends!” he said, appealing to around 200 protestors gathered at the Thammasat University in Rangsit, north of Bangkok.

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