Police identifies ‘terrorists’
Police said the nine people responsible for a deadly “terrorist attack” in the western region of Xinjiang were promoting religious extremism, state media reported yesterday. Xinjiang is home to a Turkic-speaking Muslim people known as Uighurs, some of whom resent what they see as oppressive treatment by the government. The Xinjiang government said police shot dead eight people on Monday during the attack in Yarkand County close to the old Silk Road city of Kashgar in Xinjiang’s south. The violence raised the death toll from clashes there to at least 35 since November. Xinhua said late on Monday that an initial probe showed the gang, led by Usman Barat and Abdugheni Abdukhadir, had gathered to watch “terrorist” videos and promote religious extremist ideas since August. They had also raised funds, made and tested explosives for planned terrorist attacks, Xinhua cited Xinjiang police as saying. Judging from their names, the suspects appear to be Uighur, Xinhua said.
Cyclone lashes west coast
A powerful cyclone lashed the nation’s resources-rich west coast yesterday, bringing torrential rain and gales that ripped up trees and roofs and closed major global iron ore operations. Tropical Cyclone Christine made landfall after midnight as a category 3 storm out of a maximum 5, bringing winds in excess of 170km per hour and heavy rain that cut power to several towns, brought down trees and damaged homes. Christine weakened to a category 2 while heading inland, with destructive wind gusts of between 110km to 130km per hour. A red alert requiring people to remain indoor was lifted later yesterday for coastal towns, though residents of inland settlements Tom Price and Paraburdoo were urged to seek shelter and stay away from doors and windows as the front passed. Some witnesses said it was among the worst storms they had seen.
Factory owners charged
A court has issued arrest warrants for two owners of a garment factory and four of their employees on homicide charges for the deaths of 112 workers in a fire that engulfed the factory in 2012. Prosecutor Anwarul Kabir Babul said that Judge Wasim Sheikh issued the arrest warrants yesterday for the six, including owners Delwar Hossain and his wife, Mahmuda Akter. Police said the six have fled and it is not known where they are. If they are not found by Feb. 25 when the court sits, they could be tried in absentia for the charges connected with the fire that destroyed the factory in November 2012.
Earthquake hits, no damage
A shallow magnitude 5.1 earthquake hit eastern regions yesterday, the US Geological Survey said, but there were no local reports of any damage. The quake hit at 10:03am in Ibaraki Prefecture, 146km northeast of Tokyo, the agency said. The tremor was 9.9km deep, the agency said. Located about 80km southwest of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, the quake was strong enough to gently rock high-rise buildings in the capital. The Meteorological Agency earlier estimated the quake’s magnitude at 5.4. It was followed eight minutes later by a very shallow magnitude 3.6 quake in the same area, according to the agency. Tokyo Electric Power Co said the quakes did not affect the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, where crews are working through the holiday season to cool reactors crippled by the 2011 tsunami.
Bombings toll rises to 33
The death toll from two suicide bombings in Volgograd has risen to 33 after two victims succumbed to their injuries, the emergency situations ministry said yesterday. “A victim of the explosion at the train station on Sunday died last night in the Volgograd hospital and the number of dead has risen to 18,” ministry spokesman Dmitry Ulanov told Interfax news agency. Another victim of Monday’s suicide bombing on a trolleybus had also died, raising the toll from that blast to 15, he said. About 5,200 police and interior troops were mobilized in “Operation Anti-terror Whirlwind,” the head on a emergency headquarters, Andrei Pilipchuk, said on state TV. He said 87 people had been detained after they resisted police or could not produce proper ID or registration documents, and that some had weapons. Itar-Tass news agency said police were focusing on migrant workers from the Caucasus and ex-Soviet states.
‘Selfie’ top ‘word to ban’
A Michigan university has issued its annual list of annoying words, and those flexible enough to take selfies of themselves twerking should take note. Since 1975, Lake Superior State University has announced a batch of words to banish due to overuse and other faults. Spokesman Tom Pink says there were more than 2,000 nominations this year. “Selfie” led the way. It means snapping a self-photo, usually with a smartphone. “Twerk” or “twerking,” a sexually provocative way of dancing, found a dominant place due to Miley Cyrus’ MTV Video Music Awards performance. And Lake Superior State says enough already with “Mr. Mom,” a reference to dads who take care of kids.
Abortion rights activist dies
Kenneth Edelin, 74, a Boston physician at the center of a landmark abortion case in the 1970s, died on Monday morning in Sarasota, Florida. His wife, Barbara, confirmed that he died after suffering from cancer. “He was a great advocate for the rights of women to have choice in their own reproductive freedom,” she said. “Particularly for women of color and other minorities… He became a doctor because that’s what he thought he needed to do to help women. Edelin made national headlines when he was convicted of manslaughter in 1975 for performing an abortion. That was two years after the US Supreme Court legalized the procedure with its decision on Roe versus Wade. The Massachusetts Supreme Court later overturned the verdict, in a case that helped legally define what an abortion is and when human life begins. Edelin went on to become an outspoken activist and spokesman for reproductive rights.
Driver wins name battle
A Hawaii woman whose last name is 36 characters long has finally gotten the whole thing to fit on her driver’s license and state identification card. Janice “Lokelani” has a surname that consists of 35 letters plus an okina, a mark used in the Hawaiian alphabet. She received her new license and ID after her campaign to get her full name on the cards prompted the state’s Department of Transportation to change its policy to expand the number of characters that can appear. Keihanaikukauakahihuliheekahaunaele, 54, said on Monday that she is happy she was able to help fix the problem. Hawaii driver’s licenses and ID cards previously had room for names totaling up to 35 characters. The new policy allows 40 characters for last names, 40 for first names and 35 for middle names.