|City ‘wobbles like jelly’ in powerful
New Zealand quake
CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand
(AFP) - Christchurch residents said the walls of their homes
“wobbled like jelly” when a 7.0 magnitude earthquake rocked
New Zealand’s second largest city early yesterday.
The force of the quake, one of the most powerful recorded in
the country, tore jagged fissures in the ground and
destroyed the facades of buildings, littering the city’s
streets with bricks and shards of glass.
Markham McMullen, a school principal at Darfield, near the
quake’s epicentre, said it felt like a train had hit his
house, creating a jolt that threw him and his wife out of
“It just kept coming, it went and on and on,” he said.
“It was absolutely terrifying. We grabbed our daughter,
Sophie, from her room and crouched under a doorway. The TV
was flying around the room... it was very scary.”
Old buildings were the worst affected, with entire facades
of brick structures collapsing onto the street, crushing
cars under tonnes of debris and leaving kitchens and living
rooms exposed, many eerily untouched by the surrounding
At Castle Rock, a rugged outcrop just outside the city, the
earthquake sent boulders bigger than cars tumbling down the
hillside. Only two people were seriously injured, but Civil
Defence officials said the toll would have been much worse
had the quake hit in daylight, when there would have been
thousands of people on the streets.
“We’ve been extremely lucky as a nation that there’s been no
fatalities ... we’re blessed actually,” Civil Defence
Minister John Carter said. Hotelier Richard Hawes said he
thought he was going to die as his 130-year-old building
“(It) wobbled like a jelly,” he said.
Aftershocks continued to rattle the city of around 340,000
throughout Saturday, as dazed residents assessed the damage.
Police pleas for people to stay away from the city centre
were ignored, with thousands of sightseers flocking to the
worst-hit areas, many recording the moment on their mobile
Children played in chasms in the road created when the
surface buckled and warped as the ground shifted beneath it.
In some seaside suburbs, where roads had earlier been jammed
as locals fearing a tsunami attempted to flee, ruptured
pipes spewed out raw sewage.
Some residents wore facemasks to protect themselves from the
smell, while others gathered river water in buckets for
their flushing toilets.
“Honestly, the scale of it is quite astonishing,” Frances
Adank, who lives in the suburb of St Albans, told Radio New
“The city council I think is going to be working for days to
get the water mains sorted out... There’s just water pouring
out of every front section.”
In the same suburb, Marsha Witehira said she had a narrow
escape when a friend pulled her from her bed moments before
the wall of her house collapsed on top of it.
“He saved my life, no doubt about it... if I had been there,
I would have smashed my head,” she told the Christchurch
|Pilots killed as cargo plane crashes
DUBAI (AFP) - A cargo plane owned by
US courier United Parcel Service caught fire shortly after
take-off and crashed in a military base on the outskirts of
Dubai, killing both crew members, civil aviation authorities
An AFP journalist saw plumes of smoke rising from inside the
military base where the Boeing 747-400 came down, reportedly
after it caught fire and the pilots tried to crash-land the
jumbo jet, one of the world’s largest aircraft.
An Emirati official said the accident “has not affected air
traffic in Dubai or road transport,” and that there were no
casualties on the ground.
The plane, carrying mostly children’s toys and plastic
products, crashed inside the base, which only ambulances and
rescue vehicles were allowed to enter, according to a civil
defence official and an AFP journalist.
The pilot and co-pilot were found dead” in the debris, the
official United Arab Emirates WAM news agency reported.
A statement by UPS, the world’s largest courier service,
said the plane was flying with a crew of two.
|Sonia Gandhi wins place in history
NEW DELHI (AFP) - Sonia Gandhi was
elected on Friday for a record fourth term as president of
India’s ruling Congress party, cementing her role as the
country’s political power broker.
Gandhi, widow of assassinated former prime minister Rajiv
Gandhi and seen as India’s most powerful politician, was
elected unopposed for the top Congress job to wild cheers
from party supporters who set off crackers in celebration.
“It’s a great responsibility and I thank all Congress
workers. Whether we are in power or not we should always
work for the oppressed,” she said in a speech after her win,
which made her the longest-serving party chief.
Gandhi holds great sway within the Congress party. She is
credited with shaping its welfare policies and is regarded
as a champion of the poor as India undergoes rapid economic
“She is a socialist at heart,” Indian political commentator
Parsa Venkateshwar Rao told AFP.
Gandhi also crafted the strategies which gave Congress
back-to-back general election victories, ending years in the
Gandhi, 63, whose dark brown hair only now shows streaks of
grey, took over the party’s reins when it faced “drift and
despondency,” said one party leader.
She arrived in India as the shy bride of Rajiv Gandhi in her
early 20s, and was transformed into a sari-clad Indian who
now speaks fluent Hindi.
Her years in the Gandhi household, when her strong-willed
autocratic mother-in-law Indira -- slain in 1984 by her Sikh
bodyguards -- was premier, gave her an intimate insight into
India’s turbulent politics.
She took charge of the Congress party as its president in
1998, becoming the fifth member of the powerful Nehru-Gandhi
dynasty to serve as its chief.
Congress’s fortunes were on the slide when party workers
implored Sonia Gandhi to take the helm.
“Her great strength is that she kept the party intact,” said
Gandhi -- who has described herself as “a reluctant
politician” -- rebuilt the party, leading it to victory in
the 2004 general elections.
“There was a lot of trial and error but she learnt from her
mistakes and it paid off,” Rasheed Kidwai, author of a
biography of Sonia Gandhi, told AFP.
Gandhi handed the prime minister’s job to the current
incumbent Manmohan Singh, worried about a political backlash
against her because of her foreign origins.
She now is widely thought to be preparing the way for her
son Rahul, 40, to become the country’s next leader,
replacing 77-year-old Singh.
Rahul, who took a key role in last year’s election campaign,
has been seeking to build a reputation as a democratic
reformer and, like his mother, a defender of the poor.
The opposition often mocked Sonia Gandhi over her foreign
birth, calling her a “foreign doll”.
But Gandhi, who is an Indian citizen, has said while her
foreign origins might rile some, in the country’s rural
heartland -- especially among the poor -- she is not an
“I never felt they look at me as a foreigner,” she said.
“Because I am not, I am an Indian.”
|Is Australian politics a man’s, man’s
SYDNEY (AFP) - Feminists rejoiced when
Julia Gillard became Australia’s first female leader, but
her failure to win national polls has raised questions about
whether the country is ready to have a woman in charge.
Australians delivered a hung parliament in August 21 polls,
with neither centre-left Labour Prime Minister Gillard nor
her conservative opponent Tony Abbott galvanising enough
support to form a government.
Leading feminist Eva Cox believes that while some voters
have supported 48-year-old Gillard simply because she was a
woman, others probably voted against her for the same
“We are still not comfortable when we have a woman in a top
position -- even if it’s not a big issue,” she said.
During a campaign littered with references to Gillard’s
hairstyles and childlessness, the former lawyer played down
her sex, presenting herself as a leader who just happened to
be a woman.
“All the stuff around the hair and the boyfriend... I just
think there was a level of discomfort,” Cox said in
reference to Gillard’s ever-changing red hair and her
live-in partner, hairdresser Tim Mathieson.
“The fact that it was discussed so much suggests that we are
not very good at dealing with the fact that we’ve got
powerful women around.”
Melbourne University’s Lauren Rosewarne said the country’s
worst political crisis in decades could not be blamed on
Gillard’s gender because “voters had other things to worry
But the Welsh-born Gillard’s lightning rise to power, in
which she challenged her former boss Rudd for the leadership
as he slumped in the polls, had left an impression on the
“Her whole coming-to-power was very much driven by a
gendered narrative,” said public policy expert Rosewarne.
‘reprehensible’ Pakistan bombings
predicts major increase in death toll from floods
(AFP) - The US strongly condemned a wave of deadly militant
attacks against religious minorities in Pakistan.
“To target innocent civilians during the Muslim holy month
of Ramadan at an already difficult time as the country is
working hard to recover from terrible flooding caused by
monsoons makes these acts even more reprehensible,” the
White House said.
“In line with the deepening partnership between our two
nations, the US government continues to assist and work
closely with the government of Pakistan in its efforts to
rebuild and recover, and we will continue to stand with the
people of Pakistan as they face these challenging times,”
the White House said.
At least 53 people were killed and 197 wounded on Friday in
a suicide bombing targeting a rally in the southwestern city
of Quetta, police said. Earlier, at least one man was killed
and four wounded Friday when a suicide bomber blew himself
up after being apprehended by police outside a mosque of the
Ahmadi sect in the city of Mardan in northwest Pakistan,
Pakistan is already struggling to deal with massive
flooding that has killed nearly 1,800 people and left an
estimated eight million people reliant on aid handouts to
Pakistan’s ambassador to the UN predicted a major increase
in the death toll from the floods. The official death toll
is now 1,760.
Ambassador Abdullah Hussain Haroon said many more were known
to have died and that more were dying each day.
Haroon, grandson of one of Pakistan’s independence
leaders, spoke at UN headquarters in New York, in an unusual
joint appearance with Rajmohan Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma
The ambassador said the toll had not changed recently
because “the government has stopped counting. We don’t know
how many are just lying there”.
He described the current toll as the “the tip of the
iceberg. The worst is yet to come. People are still drinking
the water and scrounging for food”.
|David Miliband ‘would move party
london: Britain’s shadow foreign
secretary David Miliband has told Labour members he would
move the party on from the Blair-Brown era if his leadership
bid was successful.
In an email to party members, he insisted he was “ready to
lead” and would “change the way we do politics”.
Miliband said that although he respected both Tony Blair and
Gordon Brown, “their time has passed”
Blair’s memoirs published this week have reopened old wounds
about the Blair-Brown feud during Labour’s years in
In ‘A Journey’, Blair issued a stark warning to the party
not to drift to the left and said he believed Labour lost
the general election in May because it “stopped being New
Labour” under Brown’s leadership.
Although he made no endorsement in his memoirs of any of the
leadership candidates Blair’s comments will be seen as a
mark of support for front-runner Miliband over his brother
But with ballot papers being delivered to party members
Miliband said: “I’m sick and tired of the caricature that
this leadership election is a choice between rejecting or
retaining New Labour. It does a disservice to all of the
candidates and, even worse, a disservice to the thousands of
members who’ve been participating in this contest over the
last few months and working hard for years.”
He said the leadership election was about “pulling together
all the talents of our party” rather than “tired old
“I want to change the way we do politics. Because I want to
lead a government not a gang, a movement not a machine,
where honest debate can be a source of strength, not a sign
of weakness,” he said.
Quotes of the
Some of the best quotes of the week from around the
“I can’t regret the decision to go to war.”
Britain’s ex-prime minister Tony Blair, writing in his
memoirs of the 2003 decision to go to war with Iraq.
“The problem with this war for many Americans is that the
premise on which we justified going to war proved not to be
“Even if the outcome is a good one from the standpoint of
the United States, it will always be clouded by how it
US Defence Secretary Robert Gates, asked whether the
invasion of Iraq was worth it
ISLAM FOR EUROPE
“Islam should become the religion of all of Europe.”
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi quoted in the Italian press as
telling 500 young women paid to attend a lecture that he
delivered in Rome.
SMOKE, DRINK AND BE MERRY
“Those who drink, those who smoke are doing more to help the
Russia’s Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin argues that higher
consumption would help lift tax revenues for spending on
social services in Russia where alcohol and cigarette
consumption are already extremely high.
“It’s important not to build false hopes and its also
important to be honest with our patients -- in this case
with the miners,” NASA’s deputy chief medical officer James
Duncan, called in for advice on dealing with 33 trapped
THE DEVIL YOU KNOW
“There are many devils that die in the wild that don’t have
Dr Alex Kreiss of the Menzies Research Institute in
Australia mourns the death of Cedric, a Tasmanian devil once
thought to have been immune to a devastating cancer which is
threatening to wipe out the species.
“Now is the time for leaders of courage and vision to
deliver the peace that their people deserve”.
President Barack Obama before direct peace talks between
Israelis and Palestinians in Washington.
US lauds Japan for new
WASHINGTON (AFP) - The US praised Japan for imposing new
sanctions on Iran that include an asset freeze and tighter
restrictions on financial transactions, part of a global
response to Tehran’s contested nuclear programme.
“The US welcomes the announcement by Japan of new sanctions
on Iran that implement UN Security Council 1929,” Secretary
of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner
said in a joint statement.
“They mark a significant step forward in the international
community’s efforts to combat proliferation and prevent
Iran’ development of nuclear weapons.
“Japan joins other responsible nations that have also
implemented such sanctions on Iran for its failure to meet
its international obligations, including the European Union,
Australia, Canada and Norway.”
The steps come a month after Tokyo approved punitive
measures in line with a June UN Security Council resolution
which slapped a fourth set of sanctions on Iran over its
refusal to halt uranium enrichment work.
Japan’s new sanctions include a freeze on the assets of 88
companies, banks, state agencies and other entities and of
24 people linked to Iran’s nuclear program, which many
nations fear masks a drive for atomic weapons.
Japan also said it would suspend any new oil and gas
investments in Iran, but there are no plans to restrict
imports of crude oil from the Islamic republic, the
fourth-biggest oil supplier to resource-poor Japan.
Iran maintains that its nuclear programme is peaceful.
|Iraq still far from
sovereign, despite US pullout
BAGHDAD (AFP) -
With the US combat mission officially at an end Iraq is a
step closer to independence, but contrary to what its
leaders proclaim the country is still far from sovereign,
Seven years of occupation and two decades of UN sanctions
that followed Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait have so
disabled this once regional powerhouse that it is still in
great need of the United States, they say.
“Iraq has for years been trying to recover its sovereignty,”
said Hamid Fadel, who teaches political science at Baghdad
“The gradual withdrawal of the US army can be a step in
this direction, but many obstacles remain in between,” he
said. US forces ended their combat mission in Iraq this
week, drawing down troop numbers that surged to almost
170,000 following the 2003 US-led invasion to less than
50,000 at present, prior to a complete withdrawal at the end
“This is a day that will remain in the memory of all Iraqis.
Today, Iraq has become a sovereign and independent country,”
Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki said in a televised speech.
But for Fadel, the supposed sovereignty of Iraq is also
contradicted by the “preponderant” US role in the country,
particularly on security issues, and UN sanctions which give
the New York-based institution considerable power here.
“Baghdad is still under Chapter 7 of the UN charter,” he
said, which means that 20 years after the invasion of
Kuwait, Iraq is still the target of drastic sanctions of the
Chief among them is the requirement to pay five percent of
oil revenues into a UN special fund which handles war
reparations, and to which Iraq has paid 30 billion dollars
“Iraq still needs the American umbrella. It is unable to
protect itself from external attacks,” Fadel added.
For Ihsan Al Shammari, a political economist at Baghdad
University, it is difficult to speak about Iraqi
independence when 49,700 troops remain stationed in his
“The withdrawal was a commitment that (US President
Barack) Obama intended to keep, and it was symbolic,” he
“When he announced the end of combat missions on Tuesday
evening at the White House it felt like the speech was
intended for Americans, not Iraqis,” al-Shammari added.
|Hopes of an elusive
Middle East peace
Middle East peace talks got underway last week in Washington
between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas raising hopes again for
a negotiated settlement for a conflict that has taken
hundreds of thousands of lives in the last six decades since
the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. President
Barak Obama hosted the leaders in Washington in what is seen
as his first major move to bring about a settlement to the
Israeli Palestinian conflict.
Later Secretary of State Hilary Clinton chaired a meeting
between Netanyahu and Abbas signalling the beginning of the
first round of high level negotiations since the Gaza
conflict in late 2008.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressing the
opening session of talks said that his country is prepared
to make “dramatic compromises” to strike a lasting peace
with the Palestinians, but insisted recognition of Israel as
a Jewish state and security guarantees must be part of any
“The people of Israel and I, as their Prime Minister, are
prepared to walk this road and to go a long way in a short
time to achieve a genuine peace,” said Netanyahu, whose
embracing of the process and willingness to accept an
independent Palestine has made the prospect of a deal within
a year a viable possibility.
Netanyahu’s appeal for Palestinian acceptance of Israel
as a Jewish state marked the opening play in negotiations
that are expected to be protracted and contentious.
Considered as a hardline hawk, Netanyahu has come a long way
from his previous stance of refusing to halt the expansion
of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank to his
current position of not only assuring that there would not
be new settlements built in the disputed lands but also
agreeing to a two state solution where a future independent
Palestine would exist alongside Israel. However, the borders
of such a state would be far more difficult to agree upon.
The Palestinians consider the entirety of the West Bank and
the Gaza Strip, as it was before the 1967 Arab Israel war,
as the legitimate borders of a future state.
However there has been significant encroachment into this
territory by Israel since it began its occupation in 1967.
Currently, more than half a million Jewish settlers live
in these lands which are considered as occupied territories
by the UN and land which is not even recognised by the US,
Israel’s closest ally as part of the Jewish state.
With the settlements that have already taken place in the
West Bank Palestinians are now offered only 20 percent of
the land that was originally demarcated by the UN in 1948
for a Palestinian State.
Israeli decision to halt further expansions in the West Bank
has much to do with the pressure excreted by the Obama
For over a year Washington has been using its influence
to convince Israel to cease all settlement activities. These
actions had strained relations between the two countries.
In March this year, US Vice-President Joe Biden was
embarrassed while visiting Israel when the country’s home
minister announced the building of 1600 houses in the West
The snub brought about a furious reaction from President
Obama and Secretary of State Clinton.
Yet the harder line taken on Israel may have paid off, at
least for the moment to bring theNetanyahu government to the
The Obama administration favours a broad Israeli
withdrawal from the West Bank as part of a statehood deal
and implies US support for east Jerusalem as the Palestinian
capital. But there are deep doubts in Israel that a treaty
sharply reducing its territory would enhance the country’s
Been there done that
Numerous Peace processes between the Israeli’s and the
Palestinians has been under way for nearly two decades with
varying degrees of success.
The last significant breakthrough was made during President
Bill Clinton’s time when the two sides signed a historic
deal in 1993.
However that process fell apart when both sides blamed each
other for not honouring the conditions of the agreement.
Later, President George W Bush made a mediocre attempt to
get the negotiations on track by coming up with what his
administration called a Middle East Road Map for peace. Days
before President Obama took office Israel attacked the Gaza
Strip, a narrow stretch of Palestinian territory separated
from the West Bank, to purge what it called terrorists who
were firing rockets into to Israel. Peace talks have been
stalled ever since, until the high level talks this week.
The latest peace initiative comes at a time when President
Obama has been severely criticised for the lack of progress
in the Middle East. Though nearly one and a half years have
passed since assuming office, President Barack Obama had
almost nothing to show as far as progress in this crucial
region was concerned. However that position changed
significantly this week.
It was a week that saw not only the leaders of Israel and
Palatine gathering in Washington for direct talks but also
the fulfilment of the promise to withdraw combat troops from
Can the US be an honest broker?
The outcome of this latest round of talks will depend on
whether or not the US can be an honest peace broker between
the parties to the conflict.
It is no secret that the US remains the strongest and most
vital ally of Israel.
Its unwavering support of the Jewish nation has ensured its
existence in a hostile geopolitical environment for decades.
However, the US remains the only nation which has the clout
and resources to bring the Arabs and Israeli’s together at a
Unlike the George W Bush administration, the current
regime in Washington has not given Israel a free hand in
determining its course of action in the region. By being
firm with its ally, particularly regarding the settlement
issue, the US has demonstrated that it has the ability to
win some confidence among the Arabs.
With a strong domestic Jewish lobby in the US, it is a risky
path for any administration in Washington to project itself
as tough on Israel.
However, such a course of action would provide the best
chance of achieving a lasting peace between the Palestinians
and Israelis which has eluded both nations for the last 60
|Low-tech, low-cost solutions
NAITALE, India, (AFP) -
Sanjay Sathe stood by his vines in a sweeping agricultural
belt outside the city of Nashik in western India and punched
a number into his mobile phone.
“Hello, it’s Sanjay Sathe,”” the 36-year-old grape and
tomato farmer announced in the local language, Marathi, as
if talking to a friend. “Is it going to rain tomorrow?”
The voice at the other end of the line told him there would
be 25 millimetres of rain and temperatures would be a cool
24 degrees (75 Fahrenheit).
He was also told how best to treat a furry white
substance he had noticed on some of his leaves.
Farmers like Sathe are increasingly being seen as key
customers in India’s competitive mobile phone market, as the
number of subscribers across the country grows at staggering
Between 16 and 20 million new subscribers are signing up
every month and in the last year alone, the number of mobile
customers soared 49 percent to 617.5 million.
Some estimates suggest that India will have more than 1.1
billion phone subscriptions in the next two years -- some
people already have more than one -- with about a quarter of
them in rural areas as the decade draws to a close.
But while people in big cities anticipate the imminent
arrival of third-generation phones with high-speed Internet
access, low-cost solutions for low-tech devices are set to
remain the main focus for sales in rural India.
“Mobile phone firms are looking out for products suitable
for particular areas,” said Amit Ahire, a telecoms research
analyst at Ambit Capital in Mumbai.
“The key market is still voice. It will probably take some
time for data penetration,” he told AFP.
Sathe, one of an estimated 400 million small farmers in
India, is a case in point.
He uses a basic pay-as-you-go mobile phone in a plastic
protective rain cover that only allows him to send and
receive text messages and make voice calls.
On it, he receives an automated voice call five times a
day, detailing local weather reports and market prices for
his produce. The SIM card cost him just 16 rupees (35 US
The service -- specifically set up for farmers like him by
India’s leading mobile phone operator Bharti Airtel -- also
gives him access to a helpline at 60 paises (one US cent)
per minute to get specialist advice from experts.
Airtel is also running a pilot project in Maharashtra to
test the use of farm sprinkler systems that can be activated
via mobile phone.
Flight grounded over ‘bomb threat’
TAIPEI (AFP) - A China Airlines flight bound for Sydney was
grounded for safety checks because of a bomb hoax, airport
police said yesterday.
Flight CI051 carrying 285 passengers departed early
yesterday after a nearly three-hour delay for a search. No
explosives were found on the plane, said the Aviation Police
Office at Taoyuan international airport in northern Taiwan.
In May, a China Airlines flight bound for Shanghai was
forced to divert to the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou
after a passenger falsely claimed he was carrying explosives
in his luggage.
|Boy mauled by sea lion at zoo
SYDNEY (AFP) - An 11-year-old Australian boy was recovering
in hospital yesterday after reportedly being left with a
“dirty great hole in his belly” after being mauled by a sea
lion during a show at a Sydney zoo.
Jack Lister may have scared the flippered animal when he
moved behind it after being chosen from the audience to get
up close to the creatures in the performance in front of
hundreds of people, a spokesman for Taronga zoo said.
“Jack had stood back to walk away and the (sea lion) just
turned around then lunged at him,” stepmother Dalitta Wright
told Sydney’s Daily Telegraph.
“Jack pulled himself away and it then lunged for his back.
“It all happened so quickly... I heard the scream come from
him... and started running towards him. It was quite
|Crackdown on rebels stepped up
BOGOTA (AFP) - President Juan Manuel Santos vowed to step up
a military crackdown on leftist rebels after they killed 14
police officers and three soldiers since he took office on
“The order I’ve given military and police commanders is to
get tough, get tough, get tough!” Santos said after a
“We can’t let our guard down. We must confront terrorism
with everything we’ve got,” he added, vowing to continue the
crackdown on insurgents his predecessor Alvaro Uribe
launched in 2002 and which he spearheaded as Uribe’s defense
minister from 2006-2009.
|Japan towns declare war on monkeys
TOKYO (AFP) - Two Japanese towns have declared war on a band
of marauding monkeys that have attacked more than 60 people
in the forested foothills of Mount Fuji, local officials
Alarmed by an unusual spate of biting and scratching
attacks, Mishima and Susono have deployed hundreds of
volunteers, city staff, police, rescue workers and animal
researchers to ward off and catch the animals.
At least 62 people have suffered minor injuries since August
22 in the two towns in Shizuoka prefecture west of Tokyo,
and the cities are now considering using tranquilizer guns
against the animals, an official said.
|Engine blast ‘like fireworks’
SYDNEY(AFP) - Passengers on a Sydney-bound Qantas jet rocked
by an exploding engine described how the plane felt like it
had hit a “speed bump” and showered flames and sparks like
The Qantas Boeing 747-400 had to turn back to San Francisco
about half an hour into Monday’s flight after an engine
failed, blasting a large hole in its casing.
Passengers among the 212 on board finally arrived in Sydney
on Thursday, and told of their alarm when the engine gave
way with a “loud thump”, sending rumbles through the
“It was like the plane hit a speed bump,” one man told an
ABC TV reporter at Sydney Airport.
“The plane shuddered violently and passengers were quite
concerned about what had happened,” added another.
|Delhi uses fish to combat dengue scare
NEW DELHI (AFP) - On top of construction chaos and
corruption concerns, organisers of the Delhi Commonwealth
Games are now grappling with a mosquito crisis at sporting
venues and are even employing larvae-eating fish.
“We are taking all possible precautions against mosquitoes,”
a senior official from the Delhi event’s organising
committee said. “But we are concerned.”
Delhi Health Minister Kiran Walia said she had ordered
municipal authorities to spray anti-mosquito repellant “in
and around” all the Games venues.
Media reports said organisers were also releasing
larvae-eating fish in a pond built in the Games Village to
protect participants from dengue, a viral infection
transmitted to humans by female Aedes mosquitoes.
“We have introduced Gambusia fish in the water body near the
training venue,” he said. A species of the Gambusia is known
as the “mosquitofish” as it consumes the insect’s larvae.