COLOMBO, Sri Lanka – Sri Lanka’s navy says it has rescued 32 Myanmar nationals whose wooden vessel began sinking while making a perilous journey to Australia.
A navy statement says the rescue was made about 250 nautical miles off the island’s eastern coast on Saturday. Those rescued are being treated for acute dehydration.
The group comprising 31 adult males and a boy had been at sea without food for 21 days when the navy rescued them after being informed by a local fishing boat.
Survivors have told local newspapers that there were 130 passengers at the beginning of the journey and 98 died on the way and their bodies were dumped to sea.
They said they were planning to go to Australia after their attempt to enter Malaysia failed.
Two charged in brutal ‘witch’ killing
SYDNEY – Papua New Guinea police have charged two people with the grisly killing of a woman who was tortured and burned alive in front of hundreds of people after being accused of witchcraft.
Janet Ware and Andrew Watea were charged with murder over the slaying of Kepari Leniata, a 20-year-old mother, earlier this month.
The two charged Monday were among more than 40 people who were detained last week in connection with Leniata’s slaying. The others were eventually released due to lack of evidence, but police said more arrests are expected.
Chinese A320 makes emergency landing
BEIJING – An official from a northeastern Chinese airport says an Airbus A320 on a domestic flight made an emergency landing because of a mechanical fault.
The official from Taiping Airport in Harbin city confirmed today that China Southern Airlines Flight CZ 3624 headed for the southern city of Guangzhou returned to Harbin after takeoff Monday and made an emergency landing. She declined to specify the mechanical fault and would only give her surname, Bai.
The official Xinhua News Agency reported that the housing on the plane’s left engine had fallen off, citing a statement from the airline.
Xinhua says the passengers left in another plane later Monday. It says the problem is being investigated.
Guard sentenced in teddy bear drop
MINSK, Belarus – A Belarusian court has handed out a two-year prison sentence to a border guard who failed to protect the ex-Soviet nation from foreign teddy bears.
Belarus Supreme Court said Monday the guard has been convicted of failure to report an intrusion of a light plane that dropped hundreds of teddy bears decked out in parachutes and slogans supporting human rights over the tightly controlled country of 10 million. The court wouldn’t give his name or rank.
Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, dubbed “Europe’s last dictator” in the West, already sacked several top defense officials over the July 4 incident, in which two Swedish advertising agency employees piloted a light plane into Belarus’ heavily guarded airspace.