Jumaat, 25 April 2014

The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Boy who raised alarm on doomed Korean ferry had no time to call parents

Posted: 25 Apr 2014 09:10 PM PDT

SEOUL (Reuters) - The frightened boy who first raised the alarm that a South Korean ferry with hundreds on board was sinking did not have time to call his parents, his father said, and was found dead not wearing a life jacket.

Choi called the emergency 119 number which put him through to the fire service, which in turn forwarded him to the coastguard two minutes later. That was followed by about 20 other calls from children to the emergency number, a fire service officer told Reuters.

The Sewol ferry sank on April 16 on a routine trip south from the port of Incheon to the traditional holiday island of Jeju.

More than 300 people, most of them students and teachers from one high school on a field trip, have died or are missing and presumed dead. The children were told to stay put in their cabins, where they waited for further orders.

They paid for their obedience with their lives. The confirmed death toll on Saturday was 187.

Choi's body was found on Wednesday, a week after the sinking, at the back of the fourth deck.

"I was so angry at the reality that all I can do is look at the sea and pray, but I am so grateful that he has been found and he is back," his father told the Kukmin Ilbo newspaper.

"If only he had been wearing a life jacket, I wouldn't be this heartbroken... He didn't have time to call his mum and dad... He reported it to 911 (emergency number) and he's back now. I am so proud of him."

Grieving parents were taken by a smaller ferry to the sunken vessel on the day after the disaster, wrapped in blankets against the wind and rain.

A witness quoted one mother crying to the sky: "It's my child's tears."


When the smaller ferry reached the scene of the tragedy, the capsized hull obscured by mist, all the parents rushed to the right side of the boat to look, causing it to list, with waves splashing the deck, the witness said.

"Move to the left," a crew member shouted through a loud speaker. "We need to have balance."

The parents responded with cries of "I don't mind dying" and "let me jump in". One woman shouted: "My child is in that cold water."

Another mother was berating herself for making her daughter go on the field trip when she didn't want to. She said she would commit suicide if her child's body was found.

"What makes me really mad is... what kind of school leaves for a field trip at 9 p.m.? At night? Is there any school like that in the entire country? Taking 12-13 hours..? and they had to wait three or four hours before the boat could leave? I want to kill everyone. There is no meaning to my life anymore."

Captain Lee Joon-seok, 69, and other crew members who abandoned ship have been arrested on negligence charges. Lee was also charged with undertaking an "excessive change of course without slowing down".

Prosecutors have also raided the home of Yoo Byung-un, 73, the head of a family that owns the Chonghaejin Marine Co. Ltd, the company that operated the Sewol. They seized another ferry run by the company and found that life rafts and escape chutes were not working properly.

Yoo, a photographer who also goes by the name of AHAE, expressed his "profound sadness" at the sinking, a statement released by Ahae Press, which markets his work said, stressing that Yoo did not have any stake in the company.

"While the Korean authorities investigating the ferry tragedy have issued a travel ban for 30 to 40 officials associated with Chonghaejin ownership, including members of the Yoo family, this blanket approach is standard for investigations by Korean regulators," the statement said.

(Writing by Nick Macfie)

Most workers trapped in Nepal tunnel rescued, three still missing

Posted: 25 Apr 2014 08:30 PM PDT

KATHMANDU (Reuters) - Thirteen of the workers including a Chinese national trapped by a landslide inside the tunnel of a hydroelectric power project in Nepal were rescued on Saturday, a project official said.

Three other men, who were working at the Upper Madi Hydroelectric Project in Kaski district, 125 km (80 miles) west of Kathmandu, when falling earth and rocks blocked the tunnel entrance, are still out of contact.

"I am lucky to be out. Initially, I thought I would die inside," Bishal Gole, a 21-year-old labourer, told Reuters from Kaski after spending more than 12 hours inside the tunnel before being rescued.

Rescuers dug through the night to clear the debris and took them out, project official Ram Raj Koirala said.

The search for those still missing is continuing, he said.

The project was being constructed by the China International Water and Electric Corporation.

China is a major donor, business partner and investor in Nepal, a strategically located buffer state between China and India.

Many Chinese companies are involved in infrastructure projects that include hydroelectric power.

(Reporting by Gopal Sharma; Editing by Kim Coghill)

G7 leaders agree to impose new sanctions on Russia over Ukraine crisis

Posted: 25 Apr 2014 08:25 PM PDT

SEOUL (Reuters) - The leaders of the Group of Seven major economies agreed on Saturday to swiftly impose further sanctions on Russian individuals over the Ukraine crisis, and the United States could unveil its new punitive measures as early as Monday, officials said.

A senior U.S. official said each G7 country would decide which targeted sanctions to implement and while the measures would be coordinated they would not necessarily be identical.

The new sanctions are intended to punish Russia for failing to comply with an international agreement to help defuse the Ukraine crisis, according to a statement from G7 leaders released by the White House while President Barack Obama was on a visit to South Korea.

"Given the urgency of securing the opportunity for a successful and peaceful democratic vote next month in Ukraine's presidential elections, we have committed to act urgently to intensify targeted sanctions and measures to increase the costs of Russia's actions," the statement said.

The new sanctions will hit Russian "individuals and/or entities" and Washington will announce its list as early as Monday, senior U.S. officials said.

Sources familiar with the matter said the U.S. list of individuals expected to include "cronies" of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The G7 statement warned that "we continue to prepare to move to broader, coordinated sanctions, including sectoral measures, should circumstances warrant."

At the same time, the leaders told Russia that "the door remains open to a diplomatic resolution of this crisis" on the basis of the Geneva accord and urged Moscow to take that path.

The G7 leaders accused Russia of reneging on its promises to use its influence to get pro-Russian militants in eastern Ukraine to disarm and leave buildings they have occupied.

"Russia has taken no concrete actions in support of the Geneva accord," the statement said. "Instead, it has continued to escalate tensions by increasingly concerning rhetoric and ongoing threatening military manoeuvres on Ukraine's border."

The announcement of new sanctions followed lobbying by Obama among top European leaders, who have been divided over how far to go.

"We, the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission, join in expressing our deep concern at the continued efforts by separatists backed by Russia to destabilize eastern Ukraine," the G7 statement said.

"We have now agreed that we will move swiftly to impose additional sanctions on Russia," it said

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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