Briefs, October 1, 2012

PUBLISHED : Monday, 01 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 01 October, 2012, 4:42am

Diaper shortage feared after Japanese blast

TOKYO - An explosion at a large Japanese chemical plant has sparked fears of a global shortage of disposable diapers, a report said yesterday. A tank at chemical producer Nippon Shokubai's factory in Himeji city, Hyogo prefecture, exploded on Saturday, killing a firefighter and injuring 35 others. The company has a 20 per cent global share of superabsorbent polymer, which is used in the production of diapers. If the operation of the factory is suspended for a long period of time, it could affect the global supply of disposable diapers. AFP


Thousands rally against fuel hub in Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR - Thousands rallied in southern Malaysia against a government-backed US$56 billion petroleum hub they say will force thousands out of their homes and damage a fishing community. Protesters from across the country gathered in the sleepy coastal town of Pengerang where the project, spearheaded by state oil giant Petronas, is due to be completed by 2016. AFP


Blasphemy case over Pakistan temple attack

KARACHI, Pakistan - Pakistani police opened a rare blasphemy case against nine Muslims who attacked and looted a Hindu temple in Karachi during recent anti-US protests. In the attack that took place on September 21, when protests against an American-made anti-Islam film were held, dozens of protesters, led by a cleric, attacked a temple in a Hindu neighbourhood, broke religious statues, tore up a copy of the Bhagavad Gita, a Hindu scripture, and beat up the temple's caretaker. AFP


Air chaos as Typhoon Jelawat picks up pace

TOKYO - Typhoon Jelawat disrupted air traffic for tens of thousands of people as it approached the central Japanese city of Nagoya, packing winds of 216 km/h. Nippon Airways cancelled 273 domestic flights and Japan Air grounded 128 domestic flights. Jelawat's maximum wind velocity will probably be about 40 km/h when it makes landfall along the central Japanese coast, a weather bureau official said. Rain and flood warnings were issued for coastal prefectures from the Tokyo region to the island of Shikoku. Bloomberg


Westerners on security alert in Philippines

MANILA - The Philippines moved to secure Western embassies in the country, following a security alert raised last week. On Friday, the US embassy warned that an unspecified threat against Americans in the capital of Manila had been detected by "reliable security forces". Britain, Canada and Australia on Saturday joined the US warning Westerners to be on guard. AFP