Three die as boat sinks
Three people died, but another 157 suspected asylum seekers were rescued after their boat sank off the southern coast, officials said yesterday after earlier reports that as many as 60 may have perished. Earlier yesterday, News Ltd and other Australian media reported that the boat was carrying as many as 170 people and that up to 60 were feared dead or missing. Emergency authorities later said that 160 people were on board and that three had died — two women and a 12-year-old boy from Sri Lanka. “[The survivors] have been taken to a temporary immigration holding facility... They seem fine,” said Rochmali, the head of the search and rescue office for West Java.
Awards honor women
Afghanistan’s first and only female governor and a humanitarian worker from the Kachin minority in Myanmar are among this year’s recipients of the Ramon Magsaysay Awards. Habiba Sarabi was honored for helping build a functioning local government and pushing for education and women’s rights in Afghanistan’s Bamyan Province, despite discrimination and poverty. Lahpai Seng Raw helps rehabilitate damaged communities amid armed conflict. The Ramon Magsaysay Awards, announced yesterday, honor three individuals and two organizations for changing their societies for the better. They are named after a popular president who died in a plane crash in 1957.
Activists protest ‘bullying’
Hundreds of activists yesterday accused China of “gunboat diplomacy,” demonstrating at a noisy Manila protest against the Asian giant’s moves to stake its claims in the South China Sea. Riot police cordoned off the entrance to an office building housing the Chinese consulate as an estimated 1,000 demonstrators took Beijing to task for “bullying” the country. The protest, which ended peacefully two hours later, came amid festering tensions between the two neighbors over the Scarborough Shoal — known as Huangyan Island (黃岩島) in Taiwan, which also claims it — a Philippine-claimed outcrop seized by China after a two-month naval stand-off last year. “Our simple message for China today is to stop your intrusions, and stop your bullying of other claimant countries,” said Risa Hontiveros, a former member of parliament and one of the protest leaders. The demonstrators, who included politicians, former military officers and church officials, accused China in a statement handed out at the protest of implementing “gunboat diplomacy in the region.”
Angry father kills workers
State media and an official say a man who could not register his fourth child because he did not pay a penalty for violating the strict family planning laws stabbed to death two government workers and injured four others. The incident illustrates how disliked the family planning policy is, more than 30 years after it started limiting most urban couples to one child and rural families to two. An official from a family planning office in the southern Guangxi region says the man was certified mentally disabled. The official says one of the four injured workers had a hand cut off. The Xinhua news agency says the man was told by the office on Monday he could not register his child because he did not pay the penalty, and returned on Tuesday and attacked six workers.
Storm leads to baby boom
When Hurricane Sandy doused the lights along coastal New Jersey nine months ago, it laid the groundwork for a summertime baby boom that has hospitals jumping. “It was a crazy time,” said Steven Morgan, who practices obstetrics and gynecology at Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune. “A lot of people were home, a lot of people didn’t have TV, and obviously a lot of reproduction was happening.” Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch is on track to deliver about 500 babies this month, up from 371 delivered at the same time last year, said Dr Robert Graebe, who heads the hospital’s obstetrics and gynecology department. Jersey Shore University Medical Center expects about 200 births this month, up from 160 in July last year. Both hospitals said they were bringing in extra staff to cope with the baby boom.
Girl killed in shark attack
A young tourist died after being attacked by a shark as she swam off a beach in the northeast of the country, a hospital official said on Tuesday. Bruna Gobbi, an 18-year-old resident of Sao Paulo, was rushed to the Restauracao hospital in Recife after Monday’s attack. “She lost a lot of blood” and died of her injuries after her leg was amputated, said a hospital official who asked not to be named. “We knew there were risks of a shark attack but I thought this would occur in a deeper sector [of water],” the victim’s cousin, Daniele Souza, told Globo television.
Parliament blockade broken
Police have broken up a blockade of Parliament by anti-government protesters to escort out more than 100 lawmakers and government ministers who had been trapped inside the besieged building for more than eight hours. Police in riot gear pushed away the protesters early yesterday and formed a corridor to allow those trapped out of the building. Anti-government protests in the capital have been going on for 40 days, and escalated on Tuesday evening as several hundred demonstrators trapped the officials inside Parliament in a bid to oust the left-leaning government. Police had tried to escort the officials out by a bus on Tuesday, but protesters blocked the vehicle hurling stones at it. Seven protesters and two police officers were treated in hospital for head wounds.
Rhino horn gang busted
The authorities said on Tuesday they had cracked an international gang smuggling horns from rare white rhinoceroses from South Africa to Asia, where they are prized in traditional medicine. The gang sent registered Czech game hunters to South Africa to trophy hunt and legally repatriate horns. From there, the horns were to be sent on to unspecified Asian countries. “Sixteen people have been charged, of whom 15 were taken into police custody. They face up to eight years behind bars,” according to a joint statement on Tuesday by police, customs service and environmental authorities. Customs officers seized 24 rhino horns, worth an estimated 3.85 million euros (US$5.1 million). According to the same statement “each hunter was allowed to kill one rhinoceros at a local game farm” in South Africa. They brought the trophy horns into the EU using falsified export licenses, it said. Limited trophy hunting is permitted under the international Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).