Chinese ships at Diaoyutais
The government said three Chinese surveillance ships entered its territorial waters off disputed East China Sea islands yesterday, hours after one of Beijing’s fisheries patrol boats sailed into the zone. The three marine surveillance ships entered the 12 nautical mile (22.2km) territorial zone off Diaoyu Island (釣魚島, Uotsurijima), shortly before 1pm, the coast guard said in a statement. The island is part of the Diaoyutais (釣魚台), a chain contested by Taiwan and China. The islands are known nationally as the Senkakus. The incident came hours after the government said a Chinese fisheries patrol boat briefly entered the territorial waters off another disputed island yesterday morning. The same Chinese fisheries patrol ship briefly entered the territorial zone on Saturday, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed he would not tolerate Beijing’s incursions into the area. Abe, who was on a visit to the US, said the nation “simply cannot tolerate any challenge now and in the future” to its control of the islands.
Singh visits bomb site
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yesterday flew to Hyderabad to visit some of the 117 people injured in twin bombings last week that claimed 16 lives. Singh is also scheduled to visit the blast site in Dilsukh Nagar, where two bicycle bombs exploded within a few minutes of each other outside a cinema and a bus stand on Thursday evening, the Press Trust of India reporters. Singh has vowed to bring to justice the perpetrators of what he called a “dastardly” attack, the first major bombings in the nation since 2011. The government was criticized in parliament on Friday by the opposition, which said the bombings had exposed systemic security failures at a time when the nation is on heightened alert. Newspapers have pointed the finger at the Indian Mujahideen, a banned militant outfit which has claimed responsibility for previous attacks.
US to help with radar system
Tokyo and Washington plan to install a US early-warning radar system at a coastal base near Kyoto to bolster defenses against the North Korean missile threat, reports said yesterday. The X-band radar, capable of precisely tracking the trajectory of a ballistic missile, allows US forces to launch intercept missiles from the ground and sea. It will be the second X-band radar system to be installed in the nation after another was set up in northern Aomori Prefecture. The X-band radar system will be built in an Air Self-Defense Force Base in Kyotango, northwest of Kyoto, the Kyodo News and Jiji Press agencies reported, citing unnamed sources. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and US President Barack Obama confirmed on Friday in Washington that the two countries would work together on the radar installation, reports said.
Twin blasts hit Ho Chi Minh
Several people were killed early yesterday when twin blasts tore through a residential street and destroyed three houses in a district of Ho Chi Minh City, police said, with reports putting the death toll at about 10. The blasts left many more victims trapped in rubble, reports said. A local policeman said authorities were investigating the cause of the explosions, adding that they were believed to have been accidental. State newspaper Tuoi Tre reported on its Web site that a family of seven was among those killed. It said locals heard two large explosions within five minutes of each other. The paper added that hundreds of firefighters had rushed to the scene and were leading rescue efforts.
Explosions wound 10
Police say suspected insurgents detonated two bombs that wounded 10 people and staged a series of minor attacks in nearly 30 spots in the country’s violence-plagued south. Police Colonel Tongsuk Jaranpong says the militants set off an improvised bomb in a garbage can in the city of Pattani on Saturday night. The explosion slightly wounded three police officers who had been called to inspect a suspicious item. Tongsuk says seven civilian security officers suffered minor injuries in another explosion in Pattani on Saturday while traveling in a pickup truck. He said yesterday that the insurgents also burned tires and set buildings on fire in 29 different locations across Pattani Province. More than 5,000 people have been killed in Thailand’s southernmost provinces since an Islamist insurgency erupted in 2004.
Leaders sign DRC deal
A UN-mediated peace deal aimed at ending two decades of conflict in the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) was signed yesterday by leaders of Africa’s Great Lakes region in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. African leaders failed to sign the deal last month after a disagreement over who would command a new regional force that will be deployed in eastern DR Congo and take on armed groups operating in the region. The DR Congo’s army is fighting the M23 rebels, who have hived off a fiefdom in eastern DR Congo’s North Kivu Province in a conflict that has displaced an estimated half a million people. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and leaders from Mozambique, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, South Africa, the DR Congo, Republic of the Congo and South Sudan were present at the signing of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Great Lakes.
Cypriots vote in runoff
Cypriots voted yesterday in a runoff to elect a president who must clinch a bailout deal before the island nation plunges into a financial meltdown that would revive the eurozone debt crisis. Conservative leader Nicos Anastasiades, who favors hammering out a quick deal with foreign lenders, is tipped to win against Communist-backed rival Stavros Malas, who is more wary of the austerity terms accompanying any rescue. Financial markets are hoping for an Anastasiades victory to speed up a joint rescue by the EU and IMF before the island runs out of cash and derails fragile confidence returning to the eurozone. The 66-year-old lawyer took more than 45 percent of the vote in the first round in the Greek-speaking Cypriot south, easily beating 45-year-old geneticist Malas, who took 27 percent.
Talabani condition improves
A doctor who oversees Iraqi President Jalal Talabani’s medical care says the president is able to speak and understand people around him as he recovers from a stroke he suffered over two months ago. In an interview yesterday, doctor Najmaldin Karim described the improvement in the president’s health as encouraging and “a good development.” Karim oversees Talabani’s medical care when he is in Iraq, although the president is currently in Germany for treatment. Karim says he is hopeful Talabani will be able to return to Iraq, but acknowledged that any decision rests with the doctors treating him in Germany.
Nine cattle rustlers killed
Gendarmes said on Saturday they had shot dead nine zebu thieves and rounded up close to 200 of the stolen cattle as they ramped up their battle against killer rustling gangs on the Indian Ocean island. The nine cattle thieves — known as dahalos in the local Malagasy language — were killed during an air and land operation in the south of the island on Thursday, gendarmes spokesman Lala Rakotonirina said. “Using helicopters in our efforts to restore security in the south has paid off as a strategy,” he said. “Helicopters are scaring off the dahalos and at the same time are useful to guide our ground forces.” The spokesman said a total of 189 zebus were recovered from the rustlers during the operation.
Underwear dancers arrested
Police said on Saturday they have arrested four students who filmed themselves publicly dancing in their underwear, as more people around the world emulate a viral dance craze called the Harlem Shake. The four pharmacology students shocked residents of a middle class Cairo neighborhood when they removed most of their clothes and videotaped themselves performing the pelvis-thrusting dance, a police official said. The hostile audience tried to assault the students, who are accused of committing “a scandalous act,” the official added. Egypt has strict public indecency laws. Some Egyptians have posted videos of themselves on YouTube doing the Harlem Shake in front of the pyramids. One of them, dressed in white underwear and a bow tie, dances while riding a camel. The dance craze was sparked by a group of Australian teenagers who uploaded the 31-second clip The Harlem Shake v1 (TSCS original) onto YouTube earlier this month. It has since been viewed almost 16 million times.
Basque party launched
Basque politicians have launched a nationalist party after the country’s highest court ruled it could be established because it was not directly linked to the militant separatist group ETA. Sortu was launched formally on Saturday, eight months after the Constitutional Court said it could come into existence because it was different from ETA’s banned political wing, Batasuna. At its inaugural congress, Hasier Arraiz was confirmed as president and a letter from imprisoned Sortu General Secretary Arnaldo Otegi was read out. Otegi is serving a 10-year sentence after being convicted in 2009 of trying to resurrect Batasuna. Otegi’s letter said the Spanish and French states “continue to deny the status as a nation of the Basque country” and continue to “deny its right to self-determination.”
MC Hammer arrested
MC Hammer suggests he was a victim of racial profiling when he was stopped and arrested by police in the northern California city of Dublin. The 1990s rap star tweeted on Saturday that an officer approached him in his car and asked: “Are you on parole or probation?” He says that as he handed over his ID, the officer reached inside the car and tried to pull him out. Dublin police Lieutenant Herb Walters told the Oakland Tribune that Hammer, who was born Stanley Burrell, was arrested on Thursday for allegedly obstructing an officer in the performance of their duties and resisting an officer. He declined to comment to KTVU about Hammer’s version of the arrest. Hammer tweeted that he was not bitter and considered what happened “a teachable moment.”