Quake claims four lives
A moderate earthquake toppled houses in a mountainous part of the southwest, killing four people and injuring at least 100, Xinhua news agency said. Sunday’s magnitude 5.7 quake was centered near the border of Yunnan and Sichuan provinces, where many of the Yi ethnic minority live, Xinhua reported yesterday. It said the casualties occurred in Yunnan’s Ninglang County and Sichuan’s Yanyuan County, where many houses collapsed. Rescue officials were sending tents, quilts and clothes to the affected area, it said.
Rains cause huge damage
State media said torrential rains have killed at least 16 people and affected 1.5 million in southern and northern parts of the country. Xinhua news agency said yesterday that the heavy rains over the past three days had affected 450,000 people and wiped out crops in the Guangxi region. More than 730,000 people were affected in Jiangxi Province and 312,000 were affected in Guangdong Province. Xinhua quoted a local government official as saying the direct economic losses so far were US$20.3 million and that water levels in 10 reservoirs and several major rivers had risen above warning levels. Xinhua said rainstorm-triggered floods also hit areas of Inner Mongolia.
Tensions with Seoul rise
The government called the use of its national flag in US-South Korean military drills a “grave provocative act” and an insult. An unidentified foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement late on Sunday that Pyongyang would continue boosting its nuclear weapons program because of US hostility. The statement called the program “an all-powerful treasured sword for preventing a war.” The drills on Friday were the allies’ biggest since the Korean War. A huge national flag on a hill disappeared behind flames and smoke as South Korean jets and US helicopters fired rockets.
Men held for tourist killing
Police arrested two suspects in the murder of an Australian woman who was killed in Phuket by a man who stabbed her in a struggle to steal her bag. Police said Surin Tadthong was arrested yesterday outside of Bangkok, where he is believed to have fled after Thursday’s murder of 60-year-old Michelle Elizabeth Smith. A second, unidentified man was arrested in Chumphon Province. Surveillance footage shows Smith walking down a street in Phuket when two men passed by on a motorcycle. The man on the backseat jumped off and tried to steal her bag, repeatedly stabbing her when she resisted. Police Liutenant Colonel Boonlert Ongklang said Surin, a 37-year-old mechanic, was suspected to have driven the motorcycle.
PM to visit disputed island
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev will visit the largest of the four Kuril Islands whose ownership is disputed with Japan next month, a local news agency reported yesterday citing unnamed sources. “On July 2, the prime minister will fly to Vladivostok, and then go to Sakhalin Island and to Iturup,” the Sakhalin.info news agency reported on its Web site. In November 2010, still president, Medvedev outraged Tokyo by becoming the first Russian leader to visit the Kurils. The two nations have never formally signed a World War II peace treaty because Japan maintains its claim over the islands, which Moscow has controlled and tried to develop since the end of the war.
US DEA agent kills suspect
A US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent shot and killed a suspected trafficker during a sting operation in the northeast, a US embassy spokesman said on Sunday. “During the operation, a DEA agent fired on a suspected drug dealer when he tried to use his weapon. The agent protected his own life and his team’s. The alleged dealer died,” embassy spokesman Stephen Posivak said. A group of around 40 people allegedly were unloading drugs from a small aircraft when the operation and killing occurred. Officials said about 360kg of cocaine were seized during the operation.
Bosnian Serb makes appeal
A former Bosnian Serb soldier is asking the Supreme Court to block extradition to his homeland, where he is accused of war crimes. A lower court ruled in August last year that Aleksander Cvetkovic, who is married to an Israeli and holds Israeli citizenship, can be sent to Bosnia. The Supreme Court was due to hear his appeal yesterday. Cvetkovic was arrested last year after Bosnia sought his extradition so he could stand trial. The Bosnian government says he was part of a firing squad that executed between 1,000 and 1,200 Bosnian Muslims in July 1995. The killings were part of what became known as the Srebrenica massacre, where Serb troops killed more than 8,000 Muslims.
One held for grenade attack
One of the people injured in a grenade attack that left three people dead and dozens injured in Mombasa is being held as a suspect, police said yesterday. Thirty people were still in hospital yesterday morning, three of them in a serious condition, said provincial police chief Aggrey Adoli. “One of those wounded people is assisting us because he is providing contradictory statements. He is being held as a suspect,” Adoli added. The blast tore through the Mishomoroni District of the city, at about 10pm on Sunday when football fans were following the Euro 2012 quarter-final match between England and Italy. The attack came just two days after the US had warned its citizens of an imminent threat of such an attack in the city and police had arrested two Iranians on suspicion of planning bomb attacks.
Wildfire prompts evacuations
A rapidly expanding wildfire in Colorado forced the evacuation of more than 11,000 people in communities near Pikes Peak on Sunday, as crews struggled to contain several large blazes around the state amid 38°C temperatures and strong winds. The fast-moving Waldo Canyon fire had grown to more than 1,000 hectares by Sunday afternoon and had pushed to within 400m of Manitou Springs, at the base of Pikes Peak, said David Hunting, a spokesman for the town’s fire department. All 6,000 residents of the town were ordered to evacuate, he said.
Drinkers face execution
Two people caught drinking alcohol for a third time will be executed after judges upheld the Islamic republic’s strict laws on liquor consumption. Hassan Shariati, the judiciary chief of the northeastern province of Khorasan-e Razavi, announced the sentence in an ISNA news agency report published by the Donya-e-Eqtesad daily. The two unidentified people had been convicted of drinking twice before and lashed 80 times each, Shariati said. He said the death penalty had been validated by the Supreme Court.