Monday 11 November 2019

Christian girl accused of blasphemy in Pakistan is freed from jail on bail

A YOUNG Christian girl accused of burning pages of Islam's holy book has been freed from a jail near the capital, according to a Pakistani jail official. The release comes a day after the judge granted her bail.

The girl left the prison in Rawalpindi, a garrison city near Islamabad, yesterday afternoon. She has been held for a little over three weeks after neighbours accused her of violating the country's strict blasphemy law.

She was taken from the prison in an armoured vehicle and whisked to a waiting helicopter while covered with a sheet to protect her identity. Her lawyers say they will now push to have the case against her thrown out entirely.

Earthquakes claim 80 lives in China

TWO magnitude 5.6 earthquakes shook southwestern China's Yunnan and Guizhou provinces yesterday, killing at least 80 people, destroying more than 6,650 homes, triggering landslides and disrupting power and communications. There were 820 reports of injuries.

Power and communications were cut off and transportation disrupted in Luozehe, the town in Yunnan's Yiliang county that was worst hit, the Chinese state news agency Xinhua said. More than 200,000 people in Yunnan and 28,000 in Guizhou have been relocated, it said.

The high death toll from yesterday's earthquakes relative to their strength is because of a high population density, weak housing structures and the mountainous landscape, the People's Daily newspaper reported on its website, citing Huangpu Gang, head of Yunnan's earthquake bureau.

The affected regions are inhabited by 205 residents for each square kilometre compared with the province's average of 117, the newspaper said.

Syrian rebel rocket kills girl, 5, in Iraq

THREE rockets fired from Syria hit an Iraqi border town yesterday and killed a 5-year-old girl, locals said, in a fatal spillover from the neighbouring country's civil war.

As rebels fought regime forces for an airfield near a border town, Katyusha rockets hit a residential area inside Iraq, smashing into one house and killing the girl inside.

"She was sitting on my lap just before we heard the rocket. I knew she was dead after the explosion," said the girl's father, showing a bloodstained mattress amid the shattered glass in his home. Baghdad said a total of four rockets were fired in what it called a "criminal operation".

Six dead after teen's bomb attack

A TEENAGE suicide bomber blew himself up outside Nato headquarters in the Afghan capital yesterday, killing at least six civilians in a strike that targeted the heart of the US-led military operation in the country, officials said.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the blast, which was the latest in a series of insurgent attacks in the heavily-fortified Afghan capital, aimed at undercutting a months-long campaign to shore up security in Kabul before a significant withdrawal of combat troops limits American options. The bomber struck just before noon.

No buyer for Elvis's soiled underpants

A bible used by Elvis Presley yesterday sold at auction for €74,000. The Bible, given to Presley on his first Christmas in Graceland in 1957, was expected to raise around €31,000 but went for more than double the price.

However, a pair of The King's unwashed and still soiled briefs went unsold. Bids for the light-blue underpants, worn under his white jumpsuit during a 1977 concert, reached €6,250 and failed to meet the €8,750 reserve.

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