Fire kills 13 students
A fire caused by faulty electrical equipment killed 13 boys at an Islamic school in Yangon yesterday, the fire service said. The boys suffocated after the fire broke out in a dormitory of the school in the Botataung district about 2:40am, neighbors and officials said. Yangon Region Fire Service said it was setting up a team to investigate the fire with the police, the electricity company and representatives from Muslim groups. A funeral for the boys was held yesterday afternoon.
Defendant makes demands
A defendant in the New Delhi gang rape and murder trial has demanded “proper food and newspapers” from jail officials as he prepares for a job recruitment test, the Press Trust of India reported on Monday. Vinay Sharma, who along with five others allegedly gang raped a 23-year-old student in a bus in December last year, filed the plea in a fast-track court where he is being tried, the news agency said. Sharma wants to take the Indian Air Force clerical recruitment test, the news agency said. Sharma, a 20-year-old gym assistant, said he should be given milk and fruits in jail. Late last month he asked the court to provide him with a tutor and reading materials to help him prepare for the test.
Police rounding up cows
The Kathmandu Metropolitan Traffic Police have launched a campaign to round up cows roaming the streets, blaming the sacred animals for car accidents and traffic jams. “The stray cows and oxen have been a big nuisance in Kathmandu streets. They not only cause accidents, but also make the streets untidy,” spokesman Pawan Giri said. “We see traffic jams because the drivers who try to avoid the cows often crash into other vehicles.” He said the captured animals would be detained until their owners paid a fine of approximately US$60 for their release.
Author to make appearance
Bestselling author Haruki Murakami is to appear at a question-and-answer session next month, in a rare public appearance for the publicity-shy, but wildly popular writer. Murakami will be part of a seminar titled “Observe soul, write soul” on May 6 in Kyoto. The event will reportedly be his first public speech in the country for 18 years. Murakami’s last public appearances in the nation were at book-readings in the wake of the 1995 earthquake that leveled much of Kobe.
The curtain went up once more at one of the nation’s most important theaters yesterday after the Kabuki-za was rebuilt for the fourth time. An elaborate ceremony involving incantations and large taiko drums was held as a big digital countdown clock, installed six months ago, ticked away the last few minutes ahead of the official opening. A theater for kabuki was first established on the site in 1889, but has now been rebuilt four times, this time as part of a 29-story office block.
Greenpeace issues warning
Mountains of hazardous waste left from the nation’s huge phosphate fertilizer industry are polluting nearby communities and waters, Greenpeace said in a report yesterday. “It’s critical the government addresses this issue and assists the victims of corporate selfishness,” activist Lang Xiyu said in a statement. “We can no longer continue ignoring 300 million tons of phosphogypsum polluting our soil, water and air.”
Kennedy may be ambassador
President Barack Obama is leaning toward picking Caroline Kennedy to be the country’s next ambassador to Japan, a source familiar with the process said on Monday. The 55-year-old daughter of former president John F. Kennedy would be the first female ambassador to Japan. She was one of the earliest backers of Obama in his first presidential campaign in 2008 and her endorsement was significant in helping him defeat former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton in the presidential primary that year. The author and lawyer serves on the board of several non-profit organizations.
Nine bodies found in SUV
The bodies of nine men, most of them dismembered, were found inside a sport utility vehicle with Texas license plates near Ciudad Victoria, the capital of Tamaulipas State, which borders Texas, prosecutors said on Monday. Authorities made the discovery after receiving a report late on Sunday of an abandoned vehicle. Elsewhere, officials said five people, including a 45-year-old US man, were killed in two bar shootings in the western city of Guadalajara late on Sunday. Prosecutors suspect organized crime.
Doctor denies murders
The doctor charged with murdering seven hospital patients — and under investigation for hundreds more suspicious deaths — insisted on her innocence outside a courthouse on Monday. “I have confidence in justice. Truth takes time and it will appear,” Virginia Soares de Souza said in brief remarks to reporters after attending a hearing in Parana State. De Souza, 56, who was freed on bail on March 20 after a month in jail, has denied all the charges against her. She, along with three doctors and two nurses from the same unit, have been charged with the murder of seven patients since 2006, while a physiotherapist and a nurse face lesser charges. However, a team led by health ministry investigator Mario Lobato is re-examining the 1,872 deaths that took place in the intensive care unit she led for seven years, focusing on about 300 cases deemed suspicious.
‘Survivor’ doctor kills self
The doctor for the country’s version of hit reality TV show Survivor killed himself in Cambodia on Monday, saying in a suicide note that the media had “sullied” his name after a contestant in his care died of a heart attack. “In recent days, my name has been sullied in the media,” Thierry Costa wrote in the note before committing suicide just over a week after the death of 25-year-old Gerald Babin on a remote Cambodian island. Babin died of a heart attack on March 22.
Easter egg hunt turns violent
One of the usually peaceful springtime rituals of childhood — the Easter egg hunt — turned nasty at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. Blame the moms. A statement on the Seattle Police Department blotter on Monday says the “hard-boiled tale” began on Sunday afternoon, “when one woman reportedly pushed a child aside as her own child was scrambling toward some brightly colored eggs.” Police say the two mothers began fighting and had to be separated three or four times. The fisticuffs left one woman with a bloody nose. Only one mother was still there when officers arrived. She said she was not interested in pursuing charges against her attacker. As the release puts it, that left officers without “any info that could crack the case.”