Suicide blast kills 34
The death toll from a suicide attack at a funeral rose to 34 yesterday after seven victims died overnight in hospital, police said. “The death toll has risen to 34. Seven more critically injured have died in hospital,” police official Tahir Ayub said. Another 43 people were still being treated for injuries in hospital after Tuesday’s attack in Shergarh Town in Mardan District, 145km northwest of Islamabad. The bomber struck as mourners gathered for funeral prayers for the owner of a local fuel station. There has been no claim of responsibility, but police said the target was Imran Khan Mohmand, an independent lawmaker in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial assembly who won a seat in elections last month.
Rapist gets life for murder
A serial sex offender was yesterday sentenced to life in prison for raping and murdering an Irish woman while he was free on parole after previous convictions for raping five women. Adrian Ernest Bayley, 41, was sentenced by the Victoria state Supreme Court in Melbourne, and cannot be considered for parole for 35 years. He pleaded guilty to raping and strangling Jill Meagher as she walked home from a bar after an evening out with work colleagues on Sept. 22 last year in Melbourne. The court heard that Meagher rejected a colleague’s offer to escort her home. Bayley accosted her on a busy street and dragged her into a lane only a few hundred meters from her home. He was caught on closed circuit TV approaching her. The 29-year-old Meagher was born in the Irish port city of Drogheda and worked in an administrative position for the Australian Broadcasting Corp. Her husband, Tom Meagher, told the court his faith in mankind had been destroyed. “I think of the waste of a brilliant mind and a beautiful soul at the hands of a grotesque and soulless human being,” he said in his victim impact statement. “I am half a person because of this crime.”
Bus crash in valley kills 15
A bus carrying 36 people veered from a road in heavy fog and crashed into a valley in the Xinjiang region, killing at least 15 people, state media reported. The accident happened on Tuesday afternoon when the bus was traveling to a tourist spot near Changji City, Xinhua news agency reported. A Changji police official, who gave only his surname, Ma, confirmed the accident, but did not have any information about casualties. Road accidents are common in China because of poor road conditions and bad driving habits.
Smog angers locals, tourists
The city-state’s smog problem from forest fires in Indonesia worsened yesterday, as air pollutant levels reached a 16-year high. Foreign tourists and convention delegates joined Singaporeans in complaining about the smoky haze enveloping the nation of 5.3 million inhabitants, which welcomed 14.4 million visitors last year. The Pollutant Standards Index soared to 172 at 3pm, well past the officially designated “unhealthy” threshold of 100, according to the National Environment Agency Web site. It was the city-state’s worst haze reading since September 1997 when the number peaked at 226. The reading rose to 155 on Monday night, overtaking the second-highest reading of 150 recorded in 2006.
Southeast Asia’s haze crisis in 1997 to 1998 caused widespread health problems and cost the regional economy billions of dollars as a result of business and air transport disruptions.
NASA seeking helpers
NASA on Tuesday called on backyard astronomers and other enthusiasts to help track asteroids that could create havoc on Earth. The agency has already identified 95 percent of the potentially planet-killing NEOs — near Earth objects — with a diameter of 1km or more, a size comparable to the space rock many scientists believe wiped out the dinosaurs about 65 million years ago. Now NASA wants to work with individuals, government agencies, international partners and academia to “find all asteroid threats to human populations and know what to do about them.” It also announced plans for a mission to capture a small asteroid, redirect it into a stable orbit and send humans to study it.
Suicide bomber kills three
Three people were killed and eight wounded in the northern town of Saada yesterday when a suicide bomber riding a motorbike blew himself up in a busy market, a security official said. Saada has been under the control of Shiite Houthi rebels for several years. The official said the dead included two civilians and the bomber, whose affiliation was not immediately known.
Teen charged in death
A 13-year-old boy from a New Orleans suburb was charged with second-degree murder in the death of his five-year-old half-sister after investigators said he told them he repeatedly struck her with wrestling moves imitated from TV. The moves allegedly included repeatedly slamming the girl on a bed, punching her in the stomach, jumping on her and striking her with his elbow. A coroner’s investigation found the girl died of multiple injuries, including broken ribs, lacerations of the liver and internal bleeding. The boy had been left to babysit the girl by his stepmother when the alleged beating occurred.
Squirrels illegally moved
Residents of an upscale Ottawa neighborhood have been spiriting unwanted squirrels across a river into Quebec province and dumping them there, the Ottawa Citizen said on Tuesday. The practice is illegal, but a reporter who spoke to several residents of the Westboro neighborhood discovered it has been going on for decades. Daniel Sylvester told the daily that his neighbor has been secretly trapping squirrels and driving them across a 1km long bridge over the Ottawa River to Gatineau, Quebec. Ontario law prohibits moving wildlife more than 1km to prevent the spread of diseases.
Bieber injures photographer
Teen pop star Justin Bieber struck a photographer with his Ferrari sports car while driving away from a comedy club in Los Angeles on Monday night, but the accident was not considered a hit-and-run, police said. Video taken outside the Laugh Factory showed Bieber surrounded by photographers as he was pulling away. Celebrity Web site TMZ said Bieber motioned the photographers to move out of the way, but apparently pinned one between his Ferrari and a parked car as he pulled out. The photographer’s injuries were not life-threatening.
Driver speeds to dry car
He was drying off his freshly washed car. That is what the man told the Royal Canadian Mounted Police when they stopped him doing 180kph on Highway 22 south of Black Diamond, Alberta. On Monday a judge fined the 67-year-old driver C$800 (US$783) and suspended him from driving for 45 days.