Destination News - Asia / Pacific.


New York (AirGuide - Destination News Asia / Pacific) Aug 8, 2010

More than 2,100 dead, missing in China floods The number of people killed or missing in devastating floods across China this year has risen to more than 2,100, according to the government, as weather authorities warn of yet more rain. The nation's civil affairs ministry said late Friday 1,454 people had died in floods this year, another 669 were still missing and more than 12 million had been evacuated from their homes. Large swathes of China have been hit by summer deluges that have triggered the worst floods in a decade, caused countless deadly landslides and swollen many large rivers to dangerous levels. According to the ministry, 1.4 million homes have been destroyed by the floods that have also caused 275 billion yuan (41 billion dollars) in direct economic losses. These official figures cover the entire year so far, and it is therefore unclear how many people have died or gone missing in the more recent, summer floods. Aug 7, 2010

China police rescue 22 abducted women, children Police rescued 22 women and children abducted by a human-trafficking ring that operated in southern China for two decades, state media reported Thursday. Eighteen victims were reunited with family members during an emotional ceremony Wednesday in Nanning city in southern Guangxi province, the official Xinhua News Agency said. Guangxi police uncovered the ring during a three-month investigation and arrested seven people in coastal Fujian province on July 22, Xinhua said. One of the suspects confessed to police the group had operated since 1989, kidnapping women and children from cities in Guangxi to sell in Fujian. Human trafficking is a serious problem in China, which has a thriving black market in girls and women who are sold as brides. Babies are also abducted or bought from poor families to sell to childless couples. Newspaper photos and television images showed an emotional reunion, with weeping mothers hugging their children. Aug 6, 2010

Tap water in south China town contaminated Some 10,000 residents in a southern China town have been told not to drink tap water after tests showed it was contaminated by a heavy metal, a local official said Wednesday. Tests showed the amount of manganese in the water supply to some residents of Da'an town in Guangdong province was much higher than the maximum allowed by the government, said a town official who only gave his surname, Wang. The official Xinhua News Agency said the level of manganese in the water was 12 times higher than the government safety level, which allows 0.1 milligrams per liter (2.1 pints). Heavy metals are a category of elements often used during industrial processes that can be toxic to human health. Though small amounts of manganese are essential to the body, chronic exposure to large amounts can cause neurological problems, including hallucinations, forgetfulness and nerve damage. Emergency notices were put out Tuesday in the town, warning residents not to drink tap water until further notice, Xinhua said. "We're trying to remedy the situation and will keep you posted," said one notice. Environmental pollution in China has increased in recent years as the country's rapid economic development continues virtually unchecked. Industrial disasters are common, with several major incidents in recent weeks, including a massive oil spill off the northeastern coast and a chemical spill when barrels of toxins were swept by floodwaters into the Songhua River. Aug 5, 2010

Rising river, rising fears Traders in the northeastern Chinese city of Dandong, along with tourists who usually come to gawk at North Korea just across the Yalu River, are watching with alarm as the rising waters of the river threaten flood defenses at the hub of trade between China and the North. Should rains continue and the floodwall break, disruption will be felt immediately on both sides of the border - and even on worldwide rice markets. Aug 5, 2010

Three children, teacher killed in China attack A knife-wielding man went on a slashing rampage in a kindergarten in eastern China, leaving three children and one teacher dead in the country's latest school attack, area residents said Wednesday. The official Xinhua News Agency said police had detained a 26-year-old man who had confessed. Officials refused to release details of the attack, saying they feared reports could inspire copycat killers. The assault was among the worst in a spate of gory rampages this year in schools and in public spaces that have left dozens of people dead and scores wounded. The assailant entered the Boshan District Experimental Kindergarten's Jinfengyuan branch in a suburb of Zibo in Shandong province at about 4 p.m. Tuesday as parents were picking up their children, according to people living nearby contacted by telephone. About 20 children and staff members were injured, two of the children seriously, they said. Aug 5, 2010

Video sheds light on Indonesia security forces The jumpy video shows a prisoner lying in a jungle clearing in eastern Indonesia moments after troops allegedly sliced open his abdomen with a bayonet, sending intestines tumbling from his stomach. Using the little life he has left in him, Yawen Wayeni lifts his arm into the air, and says weakly, "Freedom! Papua ... Freedom!" At the sound of his muffled voice, gun-toting, uniformed officers resting in the shade approach. One year after the activist's death, footage being circulated online is providing a glimpse into the actions of Indonesia's security forces in Papua, where an estimated 100,000 people have been killed since the former Dutch colony was integrated into the country nearly 50 years ago. A low-level insurgency in the province remains an extremely sensitive issue for the government, which restricts access to foreign journalists, human rights workers and academics, making it difficult to verify claims of abuse. Police have said Wayeni, captured for allegedly vandalizing several of their buildings and vehicles, was shot in the thigh and stomach while resisting arrest and that he died on the way to the hospital. Aug 5, 2010

Terror list conundrum over North Korea North Korea still does not make the grade as a state sponsor of terrorism. A slim distinction, since the US State Department's latest list includes Iran and Syria, to which North Korea has shipped arms. That the US plans to show more force in the Yellow Sea after blaming Pyongyang for the sinking of the South Korean corvette the Cheonan - a military act, according to the US - adds to the irony. Aug 5, 2010

Thailand nabs 4 Iranians accused of drug smuggling Four Iranian men have been arrested on charges of trying to smuggle 6 million baht ($187,000) worth of methamphetamine into Thailand. Worapat Chaowisit, a Customs Department official, said Tuesday that 46 Iranians have been arrested for drug smuggling at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport in the last three months, accounting for 90 percent of methamphetamine arrests there. The suspects were detained Monday and Tuesday in two separate incidents. They were caught with about 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) of methamphetamine, 1.4 kilograms (3.1 pounds) of which was sealed in bags labeled as coffee beans. The remainder was wrapped in small packets and swallowed, or hidden in body cavities. Worapat said Iranian methamphetamine is popular for its high level of purity. Aug 4, 2010

Indonesian Internet use booming So you've looked up sexy spy Anna Chapman's Facebook photos and you've cried along with Lindsay Lohan as she was sent to the slammer, but what about Peterporn, Sinta and Jovita? Ever heard of them? If you're one of those people who lets computer algorithms set your news agenda you might have come across them in Twitter, where they dominated the chatter on the popular microblogging site for several days in July. But you probably didn't have a clue why so many of your fellow netizens were tracking them. So if you're out of the loop, here's an update. Peterporn is a pun on Peterpan, the name of an Indonesian rock band whose singer, Nazril Ariel, 28, was arrested in June over a homemade porn movie which appeared online. Sinta and Jovita are teenage girls from West Java whose lip-synching performance of an Indonesian pop song, "Keong Racun" (Poisonous Snail), went viral on YouTube in July, attracting more than 1.2 million hits in a month. The rapidly developing, mainly Muslim country of 240 million people is emerging not just as an Asian economic power, but as a global Internet power as well, analysts and insiders said. Budiprasetyo co-founded Indonesian social networking service Koprol which Yahoo! snapped up for an undisclosed sum earlier this year. The service -- a location-based website like Fouresquare which is adapted for mobile phones -- started as a "fun project" among friends in 2004, was launched in May last year and already has some 100,000 users, he said. Its success can be attributed in part to the staggering growth of Internet use in the archipelago, which emerged from 32 years of military dictatorship in 1998 and is embracing its new-found openness with gusto. Whereas most people in the West first connected to the Web in the 1990s through a desktop, Indonesians are logging on for the first time via their mobile phones. Aug 4, 2010

Ancient bone find may change Filipino history Archaeologists have found a foot bone that could prove the Philippines was first settled by humans 67,000 years ago, thousands of years earlier than previously thought, the National Museum said Tuesday. The bone, found in an extensive cave network, predates the 47,000-year-old Tabon Man that is...

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