Briefs, January 1, 2013

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 January, 2013, 6:15am

Fighting escalates in northern Myanmar

YANGON - The government and ethnic Kachin rebels are blaming each other for a surge in fighting in northern Myanmar, with the government denying it carried out air attacks on rebel-held territory. President's office director Major Zaw Htay said yesterday that helicopters and jets alleged by the Kachin to have carried out attacks in recent days were supplying government units whose access to supplies by road had been cut off by the Kachin Independence Army. The government says the surge in fighting followed the December 24 destruction of a power pylon by the rebels. AP


Festive fireworks injure 186 ahead of New Year

MANILA - Philippine officials reported more injuries from fireworks as emergency services braced for a night of dangerous merrymaking to usher in the new year. Injuries linked to firecrackers have risen to 186 since the Christmas weekend, including 33 with eye injuries and six cases of amputation, the health department said. The number stood at 171 on Sunday. AFP


Grieving India scales back celebrations

NEW DELHI - India scaled back planned celebrations to mark the new year as it mourned the death of a 23-year-old woman whose gang rape sparked public outrage and debate about violence against women. The army told its units not to hold parties, while the president of the ruling Congress party, Sonia Gandhi, has decided there will be no official party celebration this year. Bloomberg


New protest against rare-earths plant

KUALA LUMPUR - A convoy of cars carrying protesters drove across Malaysia in the latest demonstration against a rare-earths plant owned by an Australian company that activists claim will produce radioactive waste. In Kuala Lumpur demonstrators staged a hunger strike in protest at the plant run by Lynas Corporation, which began processing rare earths in November after a delay of more than a year due to strong opposition. AFP


Five elephants killed as train strikes herd

BHUBANESHWAR, India - A speeding passenger train killed five elephants when it ploughed into a herd crossing the track in eastern India. The train struck the animals on Sunday near the Khallikote forest range in Orissa state's Ganjam district, 120 kilometres south of the state capital, Bhubaneshwar. The train was badly damaged and it took several hours to clear the tracks. Orissa has a poor record of protecting its wildlife, losing 250 elephants since 2009, according to official data. AFP



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Briefs, January 1, 2013

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