Army recruits Tamil women
The military has recruited 100 women soldiers in the biggest single intake of ethnic Tamils from the country’s former war zone, a spokesman said yesterday. The women, who come from the northern district of Kilinochchi, where Tamil Tiger rebels had their political headquarters before they were defeated in 2009, enlisted on Saturday. “These women soldiers will be deployed in the same area after completing a four-month training,” Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya said. “There are no former Tiger combatants among the new recruits.” He said the army already had nearly 4,000 women soldiers. “We have not discriminated on ethnic lines in recruitment, but we focused the enlisting in Kilinochchi, where we have set up a training camp and the local population there is Tamil,” Wanigasooriya said.
Blaze kills 11 people
At least 11 people, all women and children, died as a fire swept through one of the biggest slums in Dhaka early yesterday, police said. Officials said the blaze started in a rickshaw garage as thousands of residents in the Boubazaar shanty town were sleeping. “The victims were five women and six children. They were burnt to death,” local police chief Rafiqul Islam said from the scene. “The fire service and the locals have brought the blaze under control. Scores of people were also seriously injured,” Islam said. A stove or a cigarette end was suspected to have sparked the fire, he said, adding that residents were scouring through the debris and ashes in search of their possessions.
Train bomb kills one
Suspected militants detonated a bomb under a train in the insurgency-riven deep south yesterday, leaving one person dead and 15 wounded, police said. The device, which killed a defense volunteer, was buried under the railway in the flashpoint district of Rueso in Narathiwat, one of several Muslim-majority border provinces plagued by an eight-year conflict. The wounded included passengers and railway employees.
Street children found dead
The bodies of five street children in the southwest have been found in a dumpster after they apparently climbed inside it to escape the night-time cold, a newspaper reported yesterday. A trash collector discovered the bodies of the five boys aged about 10 on Friday morning in a dumpster in the city of Bijie, Guizhou Province, according to the Beijing News, citing city officials. Police believe they suffocated in the container where they took refuge to try to escape the cold, the report said, adding an investigation was under way. Calls to Bijie police and city officials went unanswered yesterday.
US officer arrested
Okinawan police arrested a US Marine yesterday on suspicion of trespassing. The incident, the second after the US military had stepped up disciplinary steps last month, immediately triggered harsh reaction from the Okinawa government. Police said First Lieutenant Tomas Chanquet of the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma allegedly sneaked into a room through an unlocked door and slept until spotted by a resident who called police. “I’m too shocked to say anything. It’s utterly ridiculous and extremely regrettable,” Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima told reporters.
Jackass politician barred
The demand of dozens of citizens has been denied in the city of Guayaquil: There will be no jackass running for the legislature. At least 40 people paraded their candidate through the city’s streets to the electoral council offices. Mr Burro even wore a tie. However, officials refused to even let them in the door on Thursday, even though backers had dummied up a mock voter registration card showing the candidate’s photo superimposed on a man wearing a business suit. Donkey backer Daniel Molina told local television stations the goal was to call voters’ attention to the seriousness of the February election, not to insult any party.
Chopper collision injures six
Two police helicopters collided over a helipad on Saturday, leaving five police officers and a civilian with minor injuries, officials said. Police believed the collision occurred when the rotatory blades of a chopper that was landing and one that was taking off touched, Lieutenant Phlunte Riddle said. The collision caused the blade of one of the two Bell OH-58A helicopters to fall off and its tail to break. The injured were taken to hospitals for further evaluation after the 4pm collision in Altadena, California. One helicopter crew was on routine patrol and the other was assigned to monitor traffic from the UCLA-Southern California football game at the Rose Bowl, she said. The weather was drizzly and cloudy at the time of the accident.
‘Olympians’ in cocaine bust
Ten Venezuelans impersonating Olympic weightlifters were arrested at the country’s main airport with capsules of liquid cocaine hidden in their stomachs, an airport source said on Saturday. The fake athletes were waiting to board a flight to Portugal’s capital, Lisbon, when they were arrested after being subjected to a full body scan, which revealed the presence of the cocaine capsules. The men were arrested by airport security police and turned over to a Buenos Aires criminal court, the source said. Three Dominican Republic nationals tied to the case were also arrested in separate raids on a hotel and an apartment in Buenos Aires, state news agency Telam said. The investigation began in July, following a legal complaint pointing to a Venezuelan man allegedly leading a drug trafficking ring in Buenos Aires and culminated in last week’s operation.
China denies espionage
Chinese Ambassador to Canada Zhang Junsai (章均賽) on Saturday denied that Chinese companies were involved in industrial espionage and challenged anyone to prove the contrary. “I can assure you that our companies working in other countries are strictly doing business according to the local laws,” Zhang told CBC radio. “If you really have the evidence, come [out] with it. If not ... shut up.” The diplomat blamed the allegations on “a Cold War mentality.” Zhang added that “even the US could not give out evidence.” The ambassador’s statement comes as the nation’s Conservative Party government has extended a probe into the proposed US$15.1 billion takeover of Calgary-based oil and gas company Nexen by China’s state-owned China National Offshore Oil Co (CNOOC). “We’re here not to grab your resources. We’re here to participate,” the ambassador told CBC. A poll last month showed that nearly 60 percent of all citizens fear that CNOOC would have a competitive advantage over public companies or believe foreign governments should not be able to control the country’s resources.