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Japan knife rampage on buses leaves 13 wounded

In Uncategorized on December 17, 2010 at 8:57 am

TOKYO (AFP) – A Japanese man with a knife went on a rampage on two packed buses Friday and wounded 13 people, mostly teenage school children, by slashing and beating them and sparking a panicked stampede.

Police said they had arrested 27-year-old unemployed Yuta Saito after the attacks during the morning rush hour outside Toride railway station, about 40 kilometres (25 miles) northeast of Tokyo.

(AFP) Policemen inspect buses after a Japanese man with a knife went on a rampage on two packed buses Friday

“The suspect got onto the buses and wielded a knife and slashed passengers,” said a local police spokesman after the bloody attack with what media reports said was a 25-centimetre (10-inch) kitchen knife.

Passengers subdued the attacker, who also sustained some injuries.

“I wanted to end my life,” he was later quoted as saying by broadcaster NHK.

The knife attack in Japan, where violent crime is rare, evoked memories of a far bloodier stabbing spree in 2008 when a man killed seven people in Tokyo, running over three with a truck and stabbing four to death.

Friday morning’s attacks left 13 people wounded, none with life-threatening injuries. Among the victims were seven girls and four boys from junior high and high schools and two women aged 49 and 59, reports said.

The man slashed at least five passengers, a local fire department official said. He punched others and triggered a panicked flight from the buses that left the remaining victims injured.

“People screamed: ‘Run. A man with a knife is getting in’. I was scared, so scared,” said one woman, speaking on television.

Another woman said: “There was an uproar. High school students were running out, and I saw a schoolboy bleeding from his forehead.”

The driver of the first bus that was attacked told NHK: “There were some 50 passengers on the bus when the man entered.

“First, I thought it was a fight among students. But then I heard a scream and I thought this isn’t normal. I saw the man wielding a knife, and I quickly opened the door to let the students flee. That’s all I could do.”

The attacks stunned the local community in Ibaraki prefecture.

“It’s an unforgivable act,” said Kenji Takezawa, deputy principal of Edogawa Gakuen school, some of whose students were among the victims.

“We gathered our students in our hall and told them to stay calm,” he said, adding that all afternoon classes were cancelled.

The National Police Agency said this week that the number of criminal cases detected by police in 2010 looks set to total below 1.6 million for the first time in 23 years, Kyodo News reported.

Murders, attempted murders and conspiracy to murder are on track to hit a new post-war low this year, with 988 cases reported by the end of November, down 2.8 percent from last year, the report said.

Source: SGGP

Hanoi plans to increase its annual GDP growth rate by 12 – 13 percent

In Uncategorized on November 18, 2010 at 1:57 pm

US drone strike kills 13 in Pakistan

In Uncategorized on August 15, 2010 at 11:22 am

A US missile strike on a militant compound in Pakistan’s tribal district on the Afghan border killed 13 rebels and wounded five others on Saturday, local security officials said.

The strike took place in the village of Essori, 20 kilometres (13 miles) east of Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan tribal district, known as a hub of Taliban and Al-Qaeda linked militants.

“One missile fired from a US drone struck a militant compound in the village killing at least 13 rebels, many among them foreigners,” a senior Pakistani security official in the area told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Fact file and illustration on the unmanned US drone Predator

He said five other militants were wounded.

A local tribesman owned the compound and the strike occurred during special Ramadan prayers, called Taraweehi, he added.

Another security official confirmed the strike and casualties but cautioned that the nationalities of the dead were not yet known.

“It is also not yet clear if there was any high value target present in the area at the time of attack,” he added.

Militants sealed off the village and forced residents to stay in their houses after the attack, another security official told AFP.

US forces have been waging a covert drone war against Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked commanders in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal belt, where militants have carved out havens in mountains outside direct government control.

Washington has branded the rugged tribal area on the Afghan border a global headquarters of Al-Qaeda and the most dangerous place on Earth.

The US military does not as a rule confirm drone attacks, but its armed forces and the Central Intelligence Agency operating in Afghanistan are the only forces that deploy pilotless drones in the region.

Nearly 1,000 people have been killed in more than 110 drone strikes in Pakistan since August 2008, including a number of senior militants. However, the attacks fuel anti-American sentiment in the conservative Muslim country.

The United States has been increasing pressure on Pakistan to crack down on Islamist havens along the border.

Pakistani commanders have not ruled out an offensive in North Waziristan, but argue that gains in South Waziristan and the northwestern district of Swat need to be consolidated to prevent their troops from becoming over-stretched.

Waziristan came under renewed scrutiny when Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistani-American charged over an attempted bombing in New York on May 1, allegedly told US interrogators he went to the region for terrorist training.

Al-Qaeda announced in June that its number three leader and Osama bin Laden’s one-time treasurer Mustafa Abu al-Yazid had been killed in what security officials said appeared to be a drone strike in North Waziristan

Source: SGGP

Blue ear pig disease spreads to 13 provinces

In Uncategorized on August 1, 2010 at 11:20 am

Blue ear pig disease has spread to 13 provinces and cities nationwide, with the latest outbreak in Da Nang City, said the Department of Animal Health on July 31.

A vet checks pigs with blue ear disease in Bac Lieu Province (Photo: VNA)

The disease was detected within Hoa Khuong and Hoa Lien communes of Da Nang City, which has 92 infected pigs.

In the southern province of Tien Giang, the disease was found in 76 households in three districts.

To date, 9 districts in the province have claimed 13,377 infected pigs, while 5,598 infected pigs were destroyed, the department said.

Earlier, the disease reappeared in Dong Nai and Binh Phuoc provinces.

The 13 infected provinces and cities are Nghe An, Cao Bang, Soc Trang, Quang Tri, Tien Giang, Lao Cai, Long An, Binh Duong, Bac Lieu, Quang Nam, Dong Nai, Binh Phuoc and Da Nang.

Source: SGGP

US debt tops 13 trillion dollars for first time

In Uncategorized on June 3, 2010 at 10:11 am

US debt has reached 13 trillion dollars for the first time in history, the Treasury Department has said, stoking a political furor over government spending.

Amid vast government outlays designed to end the economic crisis, the debt reached a record 13,050,826,460,886.97 dollars on June 1, according to official figures.

The debt has more than doubled in the last 10 years and now stands at just under 90 percent of annual gross domestic product.

Against this backdrop, steaming the flow of red ink has become a contentious political issue in Washington, with Democrats and Republicans trading barbs about who is to blame.

Earlier on Wednesday President Obama assailed Republicans for leaving him with the type of spiraling short-term deficits that fuel longer-term debt.

The US Treasury building in Washington, DC. US debt has reached 13 trillion dollars for the first time in history, the Treasury Department has said.

The US government suffered its 19th consecutive month of budget deficit in April.

“By the time I took office, we had a one-year deficit of over one trillion dollars and projected deficits of eight trillion dollars over the next decade. Most of this was the result of not paying for two major tax cuts skewed to the wealthy, and a worthy but expensive prescription drug program that wasn’t paid for,” Obama told an audience in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

“I always find it interesting that the same people who participated in these decisions are the ones who now charge our administration with fiscal irresponsibility.

“Despite all their current moralizing about the need to curb spending, this is the same crowd who took the record 237 billion dollar surplus that president Clinton left them and turned it into a record 1.3 trillion dollar deficit.”

But Republicans have lambasted Obama for expanding government spending since he came to office through a massive reform of healthcare.

The debt has risen by around 2.4 trillion dollars since Obama took office in January 2009 and rose 4.9 trillion dollars in the eight years George W. Bush spent in office.

“Thirteen is certainly an unlucky number, especially for our children and grandchildren who will be left to dig out of trillions of dollars worth of debt,” said Republican Senator Judd Gregg, a frequent critic of Obama’s budget policies.

“This dangerous and unsustainable level of debt cannot continue without bankrupting our country, and I urge the majority to slow its explosion of spending and borrowing before it is too late.”

But economists are sharply divided over how quickly the US should move to rein in spending.

Some believe that a rapid tightening of government expenditure, or an increase in taxes could remove the one support that is keeping the United States from falling deeper into recession.

But as debt-contagion fears grip Europe others have warned that the United States has limited time to forge a credible plan to end its own fiscal woes.

Even the normally cautious Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has warned that politically painful tax hikes or spending cuts could be needed to balance the budget.

Obama has launched a bipartisan debt commission to investigate ways of tackling the problem. It is expected to produce its findings by the end of the year.

Source: SGGP

American boy, 13, becomes youngest to conquer Everest

In Uncategorized on May 22, 2010 at 5:15 pm

A 13-year-old American boy on Saturday became the youngest person to conquer Mount Everest, his website said, setting a new but controversial world record.

A 13-year-old boy Jordan Romero has become the youngest person ever to reach the summit of Mount Everest

Jordan Romero was one of more than 50 mountaineers who reached the top of the world’s highest peak early Saturday, among them Apa Sherpa, who broke his own world record by summiting for the 20th time.

The 13-year-old from Big Bear, California was “unbelievably happy” when he called in from the summit via satellite phone, said a statement on his website,

“The team just called in and confirmed that they are standing on top of Mount Everest — the highest peak in the world. Their dreams have now come true,” it said.

“Everyone sounded unbelievably happy. They also thanked everyone who supported them and encouraged them throughout their journey.”

Jordan is three years younger than the previous record holder, believed to be Temba Tsheri of Nepal who reached the peak at age 16.

The Californian’s successful climb brought him a step closer to achieving his ultimate goal — set when he saw a mural at school aged just nine — of becoming the youngest person to climb the highest peaks on all seven continents. He now has only the Vinson Massif in Antarctica to climb.

Scores of supporters posted congratulations on his website, but the expedition has also attracted criticism from mountaineers, some of whom said Jordan was too young to undertake such a dangerous climb.

Hundreds of people have died trying to climb Mount Everest, many succumbing to altitude sickness or accidents, and the route that Jordan and his father and stepmother took is notorious for avalanches and high winds.

Authorities in Nepal do not grant climbing licences for Everest to anyone under the age of 16 and the Romeros chose to climb from the Tibet side which Jordan’s father, a paramedic, said he judged to be less dangerous.

Thousands of people have climbed Mount Everest since Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay became the first people to conquer the 8,848-metre (29,028-foot) mountain in 1953.

Apa Sherpa, 50, has done so more times than anyone else, and has been dubbed the “super Sherpa” for the apparent ease with which he scales the mountain, rarely even training for the climb.

He had hoped to carry Hillary’s ashes to the top on his latest expedition, but was warned against doing so by local priests, who worship the mountain as sacred and said it would bring bad luck.

Apa dedicated his 2010 expedition to the impact of climate change on the Himalayas, and led a team of climbers who plan to bring several tonnes of rubbish off the mountain.

“I am thankful to have been able to climb Mount Everest for the 20th time,” he said in a statement published on his website,

“I also climbed to bring attention to the damage done to the Himalayas because of global climate change.”

Apa has his own charitable foundation, and spends much of his time in the United States raising funds to improve education and economic development in his native Nepal.

The summit season on Everest begins in late April and May when a small window between spring and the summer monsoon offers the best conditions for making the ascent.

The mountain lies on the border between China and Nepal, and mountaineering authorities said more than 50 people climbed from the Nepal side on Saturday, taking advantage of a lull in the wind.

Among them was 16-year-old Arjun Vajpai, who became the youngest Indian to reach the summit.

“The weather was good today and so we saw a high number,” mountaineering department spokesman Tilak Ram Pandey told AFP by telephone from Everest base camp.

“It will last for the next two days and we are expecting to see more people climb tomorrow.”

Source: SGGP

Country has 13,200 newly established firms

In Uncategorized on March 30, 2010 at 3:20 pm

Country has 13,200 newly established firms

QĐND – Tuesday, March 30, 2010, 21:51 (GMT+7)

Some 3,600 enterprises, with a total registered capital of 25.5 trillion VND (1.34 billion USD), were created in March, pushing the number of newly-established enterprises in the first quarter of the year nationwide to 13,200, with a total registered capital of 89.3 trillion VND, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

The registered capital in the first quarter of the year increased by 5.3 percent compared to the same period last year, while the number of newly established enterprises declined by 31.2 percent.

HCM City had 5,000 newly established enterprises with registered worth 27 trillion VND during the first quarter of the year, according to director of the city’s Department of Planning and Investment Thai Van Re.

Source: VNA

Source: QDND

Toyota says global sales up 13 percent in February

In Uncategorized on March 29, 2010 at 9:53 am

Crisis-hit Toyota said Monday that global sales rose 13 percent year-on-year in February despite the recent mass safety recalls of more than eight million vehicles.

The Toyota group, which includes brands Daihatsu and Hino trucks, sold 613,845 vehicles worldwide last month, up from 543,435 a year earlier, a spokesman said.

The group’s global production in the same period jumped 69.2 percent to 734,631 units, of which 655,180 were for the Toyota brand alone.

File photo shows a factory worker checking an assembled Prius hybrid vehicle in its final stage of the assembly line at Toyota Motors’ Tsutsumi factory in Toyota.

Analysts said the figures were unsurprising given the auto industry’s troubles a year earlier as the world economic downturn eroded demand.

“The robust figures were largely due to a rebound from its sizeable slump a year earlier. There was no surprise. The figures were within expectations,” said Mamoru Kato, auto analyst at Tokai Tokyo Research Centre.

One of Japan‘s biggest companies, Toyota has been battered by both the global economic downturn and by its massive safety woes over faulty accelerator and brake systems.

In recent months, the automaker has been forced to recall more than eight million vehicles worldwide mostly due to problems with sudden acceleration, which have been blamed for 58 deaths in the United States.

Source: SGGP

US lawmaker gets 13 years in prison for bribery

In World on November 14, 2009 at 10:33 am

A disgraced former US congressman who stashed 90,000 dollars in his freezer was sentenced to 13 years in prison Friday for accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes.

Former Democratic Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson, second from left, is surrounded by reporters as he enters U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va. on Friday, Nov. 13, 2009.

William Jefferson, a Democratic lawmaker who represented a district in the southern state of Louisiana that included part of New Orleans, was convicted in August on 11 of 16 counts, including bribery, money laundering and racketeering involving businesses in Africa.

The 13-year prison sentence, far less than the 27 years recommended by prosecutors, is said to be the longest prison term ever for a US lawmaker convicted on charges of corruption.

The previous record came in 2006, when Republican former congressman Randall “Duke” Cunningham received a prison sentence of eight years and four months for accepting bribes from defense contractors.

Jefferson, 62, was also ordered to forfeit more than 470,000 dollars in assets.

“In a stunning betrayal of the public’s trust, former congressman Jefferson repeatedly used his public office for private gain,” Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman said in a statement.

US District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III handed down Jefferson’s sentence at an Alexandria, Virginia courtroom just outside Washington.

“We expect to file an appeal at the appropriate time,” Jefferson’s attorney Amy Jackson told AFP.

She declined to comment on the sentence.

Following a six-week trial, the jury found that from 2000 to 2005, Jefferson used his post as a US lawmaker to obtain hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from oil, communications, sugar and other companies in Nigeria, Ghana, Botswana, Equatorial Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In turn, he advanced the interests of the businesses and individuals who paid the bribes, namely through his seat on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee — the chamber’s top tax-writing panel — without disclosing his own financial dealings with the ventures.

Jefferson’s indictment in 2007, which followed a huge FBI corruption probe, listed a series of alleged schemes in Africa, including telecommunications deals, oil concessions, satellite transmission contracts and the development of industrial plants and other facilities.

The case exploded on the public stage in August 2005, when the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided Jefferson’s Washington home and found the cold cash, allegedly bribe money intended for the former Nigerian vice president, wrapped in aluminum foil and hidden in frozen food containers in his freezer.

In May 2006, FBI agents raided his congressional office — the first raid of its kind — in a move denounced by both Democratic and Republican lawmakers.


Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share

US grieves after Muslim doctor kills 13 on army base

In World on November 7, 2009 at 5:15 pm

 US President Barack Obama led his nation in mourning Saturday as shocked Americans struggled to understand why a Muslim army doctor unleashed a massacre at a US military base, killing 13.

Alleged shooter Major Nidal Malik Hasan, 39, a psychiatrist and specialist in combat stress who had been about to deploy to Afghanistan against his wishes, also wounded 30 people in Thursday’s deadly rampage.

Speculation swirled at Fort Hood, Texas Friday as to whether the alleged shooter Hasan had snapped under the pressure of his job counseling thousands of war-weary troops, or was motivated by deeper convictions.Related article: Jihadist or stressed soldier?

Obama cautioned against making hasty assumptions as an investigation was launched.

“We don’t know all of the answers yet. I would caution against jumping to conclusions until we have all of the facts,” he said Friday.

US Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr. (C) holds a candle during a vigil for those killed and wounded at Fort Hood, Texas.

He ordered flags to fly at half-staff at the White House and federal buildings, as troops here and around the world held a minute’s silence to mourn the dead.

Obama would also attend a memorial service due to be held in the coming days, the White House said.

The bodies of those killed were taken to the same mortuary at Dover Air Base in Delaware that handles fallen soldiers from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Pentagon said Friday.

Hasan was moved meanwhile from a civilian to a military hospital, in part for security reasons, Fort Hood deputy commander Colonel John Rossi told reporters.

Army chief of staff General George Casey said the attack was “a kick in the gut, not only for the Fort Hood community but for the entire army.”

Hasan was shot and seriously wounded by a female civilian police officer who was being hailed as a heroine for ending his deadly rampage. He remained on a ventilator in a civilian hospital Friday.

Witnesses reportedly heard him shout “Allahu Akbar!” (God is greatest) as he opened fire in a troop processing center with a semiautomatic weapon and a handgun.

Rossi said investigators believe Hasan fired more than 100 rounds during the incident, and that that accounted for the high number of casualties.

Although “Allahu Akbar” is a Muslim prayer, it has come to be associated with Islamic militants as they carry out attacks or suicide bombings.

A surveillance video aired by CNN showed the major buying breakfast wearing traditional Muslim garb at a base store just hours before the shooting.

But The New York Times reported that on Wednesday and Thursday, Hasan seemed in a hurry to give all of his belongings, including a copy of the Koran, to a neighbor.

“I’m not going to need them,” he told the neighbor, Patricia Villa, according to The Times.

The newspaper also reported that an early search of Hasan’s computer did not indicate any direct exchanges with known terrorists.

But earlier this year, the Times report said, the Federal Bureau of Investigation became aware Internet postings by a man calling himself Nidal Hasan that favorably discussed suicide bombings.

However, the investigators were not able to determine yet whether the writer and Major Hasan were the same person, the paper noted.

The bloodshed dealt a new blow to US forces already under severe strain from repeated combat tours and plagued by a rise in suicides and depression.Related article: Shooting a blow for army

Fort Hood, by area the world’s largest US military base, has borne the brunt of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Troops based here have suffered the highest number of casualties and have undertaken multiple tours of duty.

Amid the sorrow, the shooting raised delicate questions about Muslim soldiers serving in the US Army, as some Muslim groups feared a huge backlash.

Casey, the army chief of staff, said after a visit to the base that he, too, feared that possibility.

“One of the reasons I told our leaders to keep their people informed and not rush to judgment or speculate until the investigation comes out, I do worry slightly about a potential backlash and we have to be all concerned about that,” he said.

Hasan was born in the United States to Palestinian parents who had moved from a small town near Jerusalem.

His cousin Nader Hasan, writing on behalf of the family as Hasan’s parents are dead, said they were stunned by Thursday’s events and stressed they all considered themselves Americans.

“Our family loves America. We are proud of our country, and saddened by today’s tragedy,” Nader Hasan said in the message posted on The Washington Post website.

Nidal Hasan’s aunt, Noel Hasan, told the daily her nephew had been subjected to harassment about his faith since the September 11, 2001 attacks and had repeatedly sought to be discharged.

Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share