Ahad, 16 Februari 2014

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The Star Online: Metro: Central

Train bomb kills seven in Pakistan: officials (Updated)

Posted: 16 Feb 2014 02:25 AM PST

KARACHI, Feb 16, 2014 (AFP) - A bomb targeting a passenger train in southern Pakistan killed at least seven people and wounded more than 30 on Sunday, officials said, the latest in a series of attacks this year.

The bomb went off near Unar station, 450 kilometres (279 miles) northwest of Karachi, and badly damaged several carriages.

"The death toll in the explosion rose to seven after two injured persons died of their wounds in a hospital in Jacobabad town," a senior local administration official, Sardar Jamali, told AFP.

He said the Khushhal Khan Khattak express was travelling to Peshawar from Karachi when it was hit by the blast, which injured more than 30 people and damaged hundreds of metres of track.

Pakistan has endured a bloody start to the year with 114 people killed in attacks in January, according to an AFP tally.

On January 29 Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced talks with the Pakistani Taliban to "give peace another chance", but some 60 more people have died in Islamist-linked violence since then.

Three carriages were derailed on Sunday and two of them were severely damaged by the force of the explosion.

A senior railways official Sikandar Lashari confirmed the toll of the bombing, for which there has been no claim of responsibility.

Jamali said the bomb was likely an improvised explosive device. The general manager of Pakistan Railways, Anjum Parvaiz, suggested it was a remote-controlled device planted on the track.

Parvaiz said 800 metres of track had been damaged.

A bomb in one of the compartments of a train on the same route last month killed three people and wounded 20 in the central town of Rajanpur in Punjab province.

Pakistan since July 2007 has been gripped by a local Taliban-led insurgency concentrated largely in the northwest.

The government says more than 40,000 people have been killed in violence since 2001, when Pakistan allied itself with the US-led "war on terror".

Twelve die, flights grounded as snowstorm strikes Japan

Posted: 16 Feb 2014 03:18 AM PST

TOKYO, Feb 16, 2014 (AFP) - A severe snowstorm sweeping across Japan has killed 12 people and left more than 1,650 injured, Japanese media reported Sunday, as the extreme weather sparked widespread transport chaos.

At least a dozen people have died in snow-related incidents in seven prefectures after the storm broke records, with Tokyo blanketed in 27 centimetres of snow, according to Kyodo news agency.

A further 2,150 people have been evacuated from their homes over fears the weight of the snow would cause their houses to collapse, public broadcaster NHK said.

At least 800 cars are stuck on a hillside trunk road in Japan and other roads nearby after they were hit by the snowstorm, officials said Sunday.

More than 100 flights were grounded Friday and Saturday and several major rail services were disrupted.

The storm is now moving northward and is expected to strengthen by Monday, Japan's meteorological agency said, warning of heavy snow, blizzards and avalanches as well as high waves in eastern and northern Japan.

National Route 18 that runs through Gunma and Nagano prefectures north of Tokyo is partly closed as hundreds of cars are stuck due to heavy snow, a local official told AFP.

The congestion extends for several kilometres, said the official in the ski resort of Karuizawa in Nagano prefecture.

"We have opened up three community halls nearby for people who were inside the stuck cars, and are now preparing to offer hot meals," he said.

"Some drivers have run out of gasoline so they need temporary shelter."

Up to 250 cars are stuck on the road, the Asahi Shimbun reported.

The temperature fell as low as minus 3.6 degrees Celsius (26 degree Fahrenheit) Sunday morning in Karuizawa, with accumulated snow about 90 centimetres (36 inches) deep, the weather agency said.

Congestion extended for 30 kilometres (19 miles) on National Route 4 that runs through the northern prefectures of Fukushima and Miyagi, public broadcaster NHK reported.

The transport ministry has started delivering emergency aid including water and portable toilets to drivers of stuck cars, it said.

Snow began falling Friday morning in the capital Tokyo and had piled up to 26 centimetres by early Saturday, a week after the heaviest snowfall in decades left 11 people dead and more than 1,200 injured across the nation.

Most snow in the capital had melted thanks to rain late Saturday and sunshine Sunday.

But forecasters predict more snow again in the region around Tokyo later this week.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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