Bodies recovered from mine
Two bodies have been retrieved from a flooded mine shaft in the northern Philippines but there was no sign that 14 other trapped miners were still alive, rescuers said yesterday. The authorities raised to 16 the number of miners trapped 213m below the surface near Itogon town when the mine flooded at the height of Typhoon Hagupit on Monday. Rescuers retrieved the bodies, presumed to be those of missing miners, on Thursday, said local Mines and Geosciences Bureau official Felizardo Gacad. Their recovery raised the Philippine death toll from Hagupit to 10.
Officer killed in clash
The body of a South Korean Coastguard officer was found floating in the sea yesterday after he went missing during a clash with illegal Chinese fishermen, officials said. The body of Park Kyong-jo, a 48-year-old sergeant, was retrieved near the southwestern island of Gageo-do about 17 hours after he vanished, a Coastguard spokesman said. “Park fell into the water last night when a group of officers tried to seize two Chinese boats fishing illegally in our exclusive economic zone,” the spokesman said. “The boats escaped after their crew members wielded iron pipes, spades and clubs,” he said. A 50-tonne boat with 11 Chinese fishermen aboard was captured yesterday after a 15-hour chase, he said, adding they were being questioned over Park’s death.
King swears in Cabinet
The new Cabinet was formally sworn into office on Thursday in a ceremony presided over by the country’s revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat on Wednesday unveiled a line-up of veteran politicians, academics and allies of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra — his brother-in-law — after days of tough negotiations within the ruling coalition. “I hope the Cabinet will be successful. It is not easy these days to achieve in work. I wish [you all] to do your duty as you have sworn,” Bhumibol told the new team of ministers at his home in the southern coastal resort of Hua Hin. Anti-government protesters remain camped out at the main government complex in Bangkok, meaning the Cabinet will need to find somewhere else to work.
Police beat monks
Chinese police in the restive mountainous region of Tibet beat up around 50 monks who had tried to complain about the beating of one of their colleagues, a rights group said. Four of the monks had to be hospitalized, the Free Tibet Campaign said in an e-mailed statement of the incident, which happened earlier this week at the Kirti monastery, citing an unnamed source. “The monk had left the monastery earlier that day, having obtained the relevant permission from the monastery authorities. As the monk returned to the monastery a short time before dark, he was stopped by Chinese armed police,” the group said. “According to the source, the returning monk was beaten so badly by the armed police that he was bleeding when he managed to return to the monastery.” When other monks went to the police station to demand an explanation, they too were beaten up, the statement added. It was not possible to independently verify the report but China regularly denies claims of repression in Tibet. Beijing laid out its case in a “white paper” issued on Thursday, amassing statistics about literacy, education and religion to argue that Tibet had enjoyed a cultural revival since the Chinese Communist Party took control in 1950.
Jet diverts after lightning hit
A plane flying from Zurich to the Greek city of Thessaloniki had to divert to Athens airport yesterday after being struck by lightning and briefly losing power in one engine, the airline Swiss said. Nobody was injured. The Airbus 321 was carrying 178 passengers, said Ioannis Zografakis, the head of Swiss in Greece. “For about 15 seconds, the power was cut to one engine,” he said, adding that the pilot asked to divert to Athens International Airport so the plane could undergo thorough checks. No emergency landing was necessary. The plane was scheduled to fly back to Zurich later in the day.
Archeological dig to start
Archeologists will soon begin a dig at a site in the southern province of Muthanna that may date back to the Sumerian period, local heritage chief Tawfiq Mohammed said on Thursday. The excavation will take place in hills near Rumetha, just north of the provincial capital Samawa, Mohammed said, referring to an area on the banks of the Euphrates River. “This place is a very important heritage site,” he said. “The exploration could lead to the discovery of orginal architecture that can be added to the heritage of Mesopotamia.” What is now Iraq is often described as the cradle of civilization, with some of the first evidence of complex urban life appearing within its borders around 3,000 BC.
Pharaoh’s head unearthed
The country’s antiquities council says that archeologists have unearthed a 3,000-year-old red granite head believed to portray the 19th Dynasty pharaoh Ramses II. The Supreme Council of Antiquities says the discovery was made recently at Tell Basta, 80km northeast of Cairo. The council’s statement on Thursday says the 76cm-high head belonged to a colossal statue of Ramses II that once stood in the area. Its nose is broken and the beard that was once attached to the king’s chin is missing. The site at Tell Basta was dedicated to the cat-goddess Bastet and was an important center from the Old Kingdom until the end of the Roman Period.
Suspected hijackers nabbed
Police arrested two male terrorist suspects on a KLM aeroplane at Cologne airport yesterday, police said. The men were suspected of wanting to take part in Islamist attacks and farewell letters had been found, a police spokesman told German television. One of the men was a Somali and the other was a German born in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu, the spokesman said, adding they were hauled out of the plane just before take off.
‘FusionMan’ made to wait
A Swiss adventurer postponed his bid to fly across the English Channel on Thursday using only a jet-powered wing, blaming bad weather, but said he would try again yesterday. Yves Rossy, a 49-year-old pilot, said thick clouds had wrecked his attempt to fly the 35km across the Channel. Rossy, who calls himself FusionMan, had already postponed the flight from Calais in France to Dover on England’s south coast on Wednesday due to poor weather conditions. In a statement on his Web site, he said he hoped to make the flight at yesterday “pending favorable conditions.” With the carbon wing strapped to his back, Rossy was due to leap out of a plane at an altitude of 2,500m before jetting off at speeds of more than 200kph. He has never flown for longer than 10 minutes but the cross-channel flight is expected to take 12 minutes.
Ancient rocks discovered
The oldest rocks on Earth have been discovered in Canada, offering scientists a glimpse at the origins of the planet, scientists said in a study expected to be published yesterday. The rocks, found in a belt of ancient bedrock in Quebec, are estimated to be 4.28 billion years old. The find pushes back the age of the most ancient discovered remnants of the Earth’s crust by 300 million years. The rocks also suggest that continents formed very early in the Earth’s history, said Richard Carlson at the Carnegie Institution in Washington, co-author of the study, to be published in the Sept. 26 edition of the journal Science. Estimates of the rocks’ age were made using isotopic dating, a technique that can only be used to date rocks roughly 4.1 billion years old or older.
Prize for worst bureaucracy
For decades, locals have confronted complicated, bureaucratic red tape that begs for a bribe. Now they can turn their frustrations into quick cash. The federal government is holding a contest to find the worst example of bureaucracy and corruption, an attempt to clean up and streamline government requirements. Officials announced the first details on prizes and rules on Thursday, after President Felipe Calderon said earlier this month that the contest was in the works. “Governments serve to facilitate the development of people and communities, not to complicate them,” Public Administration Secretary Salvador Vega said at a news conference. Officials handed out contest entry forms featuring a photo of a bureaucrat at his desk, surrounded by stacks of documents and pointing a long line of weary residents in another direction. An assistant in a red tank-top paints her nails at his computer. A clock on the wall gives the time as 11:30am, while a digital counter announces that the second person of the day is currently being served. Residents have until Oct. 31 to submit the entry forms, which ask questions like: Were you asked for difficult-to-acquire or nonexistent documents? Were you asked for a bribe to complete the service? They also ask for suggestions on ways to improve government agencies. The worst example of federal red tape and the best suggestion for improvement will win US$27,900.
Mint cancels buffalo coins
The Mint said on Thursday it was temporarily suspending sales of Buffalo 24-carat gold 28g bullion coins because strong demand depleted its inventory. The Mint also told dealers that it would work to build up its inventory to resume sales shortly. In mid-August, a shortage of American Eagle 28g gold coins because of “unprecedented” demand had also forced the Mint to temporarily suspend sales of the popular coins. The Mint said on Thursday it would continue to supply the American Eagle 22-carat gold 28g and American Eagle silver bullion coins on an allocation basis to coin dealers.
Authorities detained a Portuguese man at Sao Paulo’s international airport with 200 birds in his bag, police said on Thursday. Customs officials found 65 of 200 Canary birds dead, the Agriculture Ministry said in a statement. Police will charge the man, who arrived from Peru and resides in the Portuguese speaking country, with animal trafficking, a federal police officer at the airport said. The remaining live birds will be sent back to Peru by plane — in more humane conditions.
Vaccines that protect against severe illness, death and lingering long COVID-19 symptoms from a SARS-CoV-2 infection were linked to small increases in neurological, blood and heart-related conditions in the largest global vaccine safety study to date. The rare events — identified early in the pandemic — included a higher risk of heart-related inflammation from mRNA shots made by Pfizer Inc, BioNTech SE and Moderna Inc, and an increased risk of a type of blood clot in the brain after immunization with viral-vector vaccines such as the one developed by the University of Oxford and made by AstraZeneca PLC. The viral-vector jabs were
A steam of sweat rose as hundreds of naked men tussled over a bag of wooden talismans, performing a dramatic end to a thousand-year-old ritual in Japan that took place for the last time. Their passionate chants of “jasso, joyasa” (“evil, be gone”) echoed through a ceder forest in Japan’s Iwate Prefecture, where the secluded Kokuseki Temple is ending the popular annual rite. Organizing the event, which draws hundreds of participants and thousands of tourists every year, has become a heavy burden for the aging local faithful, who find it hard to keep up with the rigors of the ritual. The Sominsai festival,
COLLECTIVE ACTION: Over 150 trainee doctors quit over the government’s plan to increase medical school admissions by 2,000 students next school year The South Korean government yesterday warned that trainee doctors were putting public health at risk after more than 150 tendered their resignations to protest a government plan to admit more students to medical schools. The South Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare said it had issued a back-to-work order to the 154 doctors at seven hospitals, warning that refusing to comply would result in punishment. The government plans to raise medical school admissions by 2,000 students for the 2025 academic year and to add 10,000 doctors by 2035. Currently, about 3,000 students enter medical schools each year. The plan has drawn intense protests
RESISTANCE Republicans aligned with Trump oppose the legislation, and the House speaker has said it could be weeks or months before it is sent to Biden — if at all US President Joe Biden on Tuesday called for Republicans in the US House of Representatives to urgently bring a US$95.3 billion aid package for Taiwan, Ukraine and Israel to a vote, warning that refusal to take up the bill, passed by the US Senate in the morning, would be “playing into Putin’s hands.” “Supporting this bill is standing up to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin,” Biden said, raising his voice in strong comments from the White House as he referred to the Russian leader. “We can’t walk away now. That’s what Putin is betting on.” However, the package faces a deeply uncertain future