Khamis, 31 Oktober 2013

The Star Online: Metro: South & East

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The Star Online: Metro: South & East

Chinese boy, 10, jumps to death 'on teacher's order'


BEIJING: A 10-year-old Chinese boy jumped 30 floors to his death after failing to write a self-criticism letter demanded by his teacher, state media reported Thursday.

The fifth-grade primary school student had been ordered to write a 1,000-character apology by his teacher for talking in class, China National Radio (CNR) reported on its website, citing a neighbour.

The educator allegedly told him to jump out of a building after he failed to complete the task, the report quoted relatives and the neighbour as saying.

"Teacher, I can't do it," was found written in one of his textbooks, CNR said. "I flinched several times when I tried to jump from the building."

The child smashed into a parked car beneath the flat where his family live, the West China City News reported.

His furious relatives posted a banner outside the school in the southwestern city of Chengdu reading: "The teacher forced our kid to jump off the building," pictures showed Thursday.

"The police investigation is still under way," an official of Jinjiang district, where the incident happened, told AFP, declining to comment further.

Strict discipline is an essential part of China's education system and culture, and tradition demands deference to authority, putting children under pressure to obey instructions.

The boy's school said Thursday on its verified account on Sina Weibo, a Chinese equivalent of Twitter, that the child and some of his classmates had been ordered to write reviews of their behaviour after they disturbed a speaking competition.

He died "by accident", it said. -AFP

Strong earthquake hits Taiwan, shakes buildings in capital


TAIPEI: A strong earthquake struck eastern Taiwan Thursday, shaking buildings in the capital and causing tremors across the island.

The 6.3 magnitude at 8:02 pm (1202 GMT) had its epicentre 53 kilometres (33 miles) southwest of Hualien city at a depth of 19.5 kilometres, according to the country's Seismology Centre.

The US Geological Survey gave a slightly higher magnitude of 6.6 and a shallower depth of 9 km.

A handout image made available 31 October 2013 by the US Geological Survey shows the epicenter of the 6.6-magnitude earthquake that struck eastern Taiwan on 31 October 2013.-EPA

There was no immediate information on any damage or casualties. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said there was no immediate threat of a tsunami. 

Residents in Taipei took to social media to describe their alarm after the quake hit.

"Yikes. Now the sirens are going. Definitely the worst earthquake I've felt here," wrote Lola Dodge on Twitter, describing herself as an expat living in Taipei.

Elga Reyes tweeted: "Ohmygod. That was the scariest moment ever! Earthquake in Taipei. I could hear the walls creaking. And felt like I was swaying on a ride." -AFP

Laos recovers crashed plane black boxes


BANGKOK, Thailand: Search teams on Thursday recovered the flight data recorders of a Lao Airlines plane that plunged into the Mekong River in bad weather killing all 49 people on board, officials said.

The black boxes, which include both voice and data recordings, were found early Thursday as part of efforts to recover parts of the stricken craft from the river's fast-flowing waters, according to Yakua Lopankao, director general of Laos' Department of Civil Aviation.

"It has not yet been decided where to send them to be examined, it is up to the air accident investigation committee," he said of the operation, which has been assisted by experts from the French aviation safety agency BEA.

The Lao Airlines turboprop ATR-72 plummeted into the Mekong as it went to land in the southern town of Pakse on October 16 in the country's worst air disaster.

More than half of the 49 passengers and crew were foreigners from some 10 countries.

So far 47 bodies have been recovered, some many kilometres downstream from the crash site as rescuers battled strong currents along the swollen river.

So far, at least 43 of the victims have been identified, according to a Lao Airlines statement on Wednesday.

"Our efforts remain focused on caring for the bereaved families of the victims and doing what we can to alleviate the trauma they are suffering and assist them as much as possible at this difficult time," it said.

The carrier has said the aircraft hit "extreme" bad weather, while witnesses described seeing the plane buffeted by strong winds before plummeting into the Mekong. 

According to a passenger list released by the airline, there were 16 Laotians, seven French travellers, six Australians, five Thais, three South Koreans, two Vietnamese, and one national each from the United States, Canada, Malaysia, China and Taiwan.

There were also five crew, including the Cambodian captain.

Founded in 1976, Lao Airlines serves domestic airports and destinations in China, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

Impoverished Laos, a one-party communist state, has seen 29 fatal air accidents since the 1950s, according to the Aviation Safety Network.

Previously the country's worst air disaster was in 1954, when 47 people died in an Air Vietnam crash near Pakse, the organisation said. -AFP


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