China floods: 63 killed, 1.6 mn people displaced

Wednesday 12th July 2017 06:50 EDT

Beijing: Floods and landslides have killed scores of people in China's central Hunan province as two weeks of torrential rains forced 1.6 million to flee, authorities said. Some 53,000 homes have collapsed while nearly 350,000 others were seriously or partially damaged after 11 straight days of rain, according to Tang Biyu, deputy director of Hunan's civil affairs department. At least 63 people were killed by landslides, the flow of debris or the collapse of homes, while 20 more are missing, Tang said in a statement, which put the damage bill at $5.6 billion. Central and southern China have been hit by a deluge since June. Authorities in the southern region of Guangxi last week reported that two dozen people had been killed or gone missing due to flooding, which also damaged thousands of houses. In late June, a massive landslide buried a village in southwest Sichuan province, killing at least 10 and leaving 73 more missing.

Nine killed in Bangladesh factory blast

Dhaka: At least nine people were killed and about 50 others injured in a blast at a garment factory in Bangladesh's Gazipur area. The explosion took place at Multifabs Ltd, an export oriented knitwear factory. The blast at the factory's dyeing section led to a massive blaze that swept through the building for hours, an official said. "Eight bodies were recovered from the accident site," the official said, adding that one more person succumbed to his injuries later in a hospital. The death toll might increase as many people have sustained critical injuries, he said.

Pak boy kills sister for teasing him

Lahore: Police have arrested an 11-year-old boy in Pakistan's Lahore city for killing his minor sister for teasing him over his "poor handwriting", the media reported. Nine-year-old Eman Tanvir was found strangled at her grandmother's house. Earlier, the police had taken the victim's stepmother Saba into custody for interrogation but later released her. A police official said the victim and her elder brother Abdul Rehman had come to spend Eid holidays at their grandmother's house. "The siblings held a handwriting competition when their grandmother was not home," the official said. He said Eman teased Abdul for having poor handwriting. This annoyed the boy who put a scarf around his sister's neck and strangled her to death.

Shell told to pay $2.4mn for Pak tanker fire

Islamabad: A spokesman for Pakistan's oil and gas regulatory body says the agency has ordered a local subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell to pay about 250 million rupees ($2.4 million) in compensation and damages for last month's fuel truck fire that killed 215 people. Imran Ghazanvi said the probe has held Shell Pakistan Limited responsible for the June 25 accident when the oil tanker lost control and crashed in Punjab province. The fuel ignited when villagers rushed to the scene to collect the spilled oil, ignoring warnings from police.

Flyer assaults crew member, forces plane to return

Seattle: A Delta Air Lines flight bound for Beijing returned to Seattle after a 23-year-old male passenger, from Florida, assaulted a flight attendant in the first class cabin before being subdued by other travellers, a Seattle airport spokesman said. The pilot decided to turn back and call for police, fire, and medical personnel to meet the plane after the incident. No further details have been released. The FBI interviewed passengers and had no information to suggest the incident was a threat to national security. The flight attendant and flyer were sent to hospital after the Boeing 767-300 landed safely.

After Etihad, Emirates & Turkish off laptop ban list

Dubai: Dubai's Emirates and Istanbul-based Turkish Airlines said the US has lifted the ban on laptops from their non-stops to America with immediate effect. This comes three days after the US revoked a similar restriction on Abu Dhabi's Etihad. America had on March 25 banned electronic devices larger than a mobile phone in passenger cabins of direct flights to the country from 10 airports in the Gulf, North Africa and Turkey, including Emirates, Etihad, Qatar and Turkish. These devices have to be checked in on these airlines' non-stop flights to the US. But for some airlines, things are going back to normal now. “Effective immediately, electronics ban has been lifted for Emirates' flights from Dubai International Airport to the USA.

Drought threatens Rome's drinking fountains

Rome: Baking summer heat has forced Rome to close some of the drinking fountains known as “big noses,” or “nasoni,” that constantly gush fresh water on thousands of street corners, causing a public outcry. Hit by soaring temperatures drying out southern Europe, the Italian capital has started turning off up to 30 of the 2,800 metal taps every day, dismaying Romans and prompting concerns that homeless people would become dehydrated. Brandishing a plastic bottle in the central Piazza Venezia, city resident Carmelo Teti asked, “How can you take away fresh water from tourists who walk and want to refresh themselves?” In a letter to Rome's mayor Virginia Raggi, water company Acea blamed the “exceptional drought” for the temporary measure.

Dhaka eatery bans entry of foreigners

Dhaka: An upscale Bangladeshi restaurant has banned foreign guests, fearing a repeat of last year's deadly terrorist attack in a Dhaka cafe, the owner said. Lake Terrace, a reputed rooftop barbeque restaurant in the capital's northern Uttara neighbourhood, put a notice at its entrance saying no foreigners were welcome. Shah Tanzil, the owner of Lake Terrace, said the order had come from his landlord. “We had no choice but to follow the landlord's instruction,” he said. “We are ashamed. But we cannot suddenly shut down our business.” The landlord told a local newspaper that he feared foreigners were the primary targets of the extremists. “Who would take the responsibility if something bad happens?” he told the daily.

Now, Pakistan to hoist its tallest flag at Wagah

AMRITSAR: While the authorities in India are still struggling with the vexed problem of frequent damage to the country's tallest flag, installed at a height of 350 feet, at Attari due to strong winds, Pakistan has announced to hoist its national flag atop 400-foot flagpole at Wagah border. According to media reports in Pakistan, the government has begun preparations for the project and started clearing the space by cutting down trees. If hoisted successfully, the flag would be the eighth tallest flag in the world. On March 5 this year, India had hoisted the national flag at Attari but it was torn by strong winds within a couple of days and had to be replaced. The flag has been replaced five times ever since.

US bombers fly over S China Sea

BEIJING: In a bold move, two American bombers flew over the disputed South China Sea disregarding Beijing's claims over the territory. The B-1B Lancer bombers from Guam airbase flew over South China Sea as part of operations intended to demonstrate the US commitment to freedom of navigation, as announced by the US air force. The expression of freedom however, did not go down too well with China, who accused the Western nation of trying to “flaunt military force” to harm its sovereignty.

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