Bulgaria police find 18 migrants dead in abandoned truck, 10 more in intensive care

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Bulgaria police find 18 migrants dead in abandoned truck, 10 more in intensive care

Bulgaria police find 18 migrants dead in abandoned truck, 10 more in intensive care


At least 18 people including a child were found dead in an abandoned truck near the Bulgarian capital Sofia, officials said on Friday.

The truck was transporting timber and carrying illegal migrants hidden in a compartment, the country’s interior ministry said in a statement, adding that the truck was found near the village of Lokorsko.

34 migrants, including five children, were rushed to hospitals in Sofia, with at least 10 in critical condition, Health Minister Asen Medzhidiev said.

“There has been a lack of oxygen for those who were locked in this truck. They were freezing, wet, they have not eaten for several days,” Medzhidiev told reporters.

Police were seeking to identify the truck’s drivers, who had fled, according to the interior ministry.

Bulgaria is situated on a route used by migrants from the Middle East and Afghanistan to enter the European Union.

Most do not stay in the country but look to move on to richer countries in Western Europe, often using elaborate networks of smugglers.

In 2015, three Bulgarian truck drivers were arrested and later charged with the deaths of 71 migrants found dead beside an Austrian motorway.

In December, Bulgaria was blocked from entering the EU’s passport-free Schengen zone by Austria and the Netherlands over security and rule-of-law concerns, but the country will seek to gain entry again this year.


Man rescued 11 days after deadly quake in Turkey

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Man rescued 11 days after deadly quake in Turkey

Man rescued 11 days after deadly quake in Turkey


A man was rescued on Friday from the rubble of a building that collapsed in the southern province of Hatay, 11 days after a massive earthquake struck the area killing more than 43,000 people in Turkey and Syria.

Istanbul Fire Brigade teams said they rescued Hakan Yasinoğlu, in his 40s, alive from the wreckage in Hatay centre after the 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck in the dead of night on Feb. 6.

While many international rescue teams have left the vast quake zone, survivors were still emerging from under a multitude of flattened homes, defying all the odds.

Experts say most rescues occur in the 24 hours following an earthquake. However, a teenage girl was saved 15 days after a devastating quake in Haiti in 2010, giving hope that more people might yet be found.

The death toll in Turkey now stands at 38,044, making it the worst disaster in modern Turkish history. But this number is expected to shoot up given some 264,000 apartments were lost in the quake and many people are still unaccounted for.

In neighbouring Syria, already shattered by more than a decade of civil war, authorities have reported more than 5,800 deaths. The toll has not changed for days.

The bulk of Syria’s fatalities have been in the northwest, an area controlled by insurgents who are at war with President Bashar al-Assad – a conflict that has complicated efforts to aid people affected by the earthquake.


Six dead as gunman goes on rampage in small Mississippi town

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Six dead as gunman goes on rampage in small Mississippi town

Six dead as gunman goes on rampage in small Mississippi town


A gunman went on a rampage in a small Mississippi town on Friday, killing his ex-wife and five other people in three locations before sheriff’s deputies arrested him, the county sheriff and witnesses said.

The bloodshed occurred in Arkabutla, a rural hamlet of less than 300 people in Tate County in northern Mississippi, about 40 miles (60 km) south of MemphisTennessee.

The gunman was identified as Richard Dale Crum, 51, and was charged with first-degree murder, Tate County Sheriff Brad Lance told reporters.

Investigators had yet to ascertain a motive but Lance said they would start by examining the suspect’s relationship with his ex-wife.

Authorities first received a call about a shooting at a gas station convenience store, and before deputies arrived they received another call about a second shooting at a nearby home, Lance said.

One man was shot dead at the store. A woman, later determined to be Crum’s ex-wife, was found dead at the home, Lance said.

Deputies tracked down the suspect in the driveway of another home and arrested him without a struggle, Lance said. That turned out to be Crum’s home, and deputies found four more bodies there. Two were behind the home and two more in the roadway, one in a vehicle and the other on the road, Lance said.

The suspect may have had a family connection with the victims behind the house. The two men on the roadway appeared to have been workers on a job at the site, Lance said.

“We don’t have a lot of violent crime here. This is shocking,” Lance said.

Deputies recovered a shotgun and two handguns from the suspect, Lance said.

One man who witnessed some of the events at the store said he pulled out his pistol and considered firing at the suspect, who was armed with a shotgun but decided to hold his fire.

Instead, witness, Ethan Cash told Reuters, he tended to a man who was shot inside his car outside the store and found he had no pulse and was unresponsive.

Cash, 18, said he then drew his pistol on another man, who turned out to be the victim’s brother, who was injured.

“He said, ‘Man, they just shot my brother,'” Cash said. “And I’m like, ‘Man, I’m so sorry. Let’s make sure everyone is OK.'”

Cash said he spotted the suspect and considered opening fire.

“I was going to start shooting at the guy as he was pulling off but I didn’t know who exactly it was and I didn’t want to hurt anybody, so I kind of let the officers do that. It’s their job, anyways,” Cash said.

Cash predicted the shootings would leave a deep impact on the small, where most people know each other and violence is rare.

“It’s definitely confusing when it happens,” Cash said, “especially when you hear six, seven people are murdered and no one knows why.”


A look at Scranton Army Ammunition Plant, as Ukraine war spurs European demand for US arms

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A look at Scranton Army Ammunition Plant, as Ukraine war spurs European demand for US arms

A look at Scranton Army Ammunition Plant, as Ukraine war spurs European demand for US arms


As European demand for US weaponry soars for cheaper, less-sophisticated items such as shoulder-fired missiles, artillery, and drones that have proven critical to Ukraine’s war efforts, Scranton’s Army Ammunition Plant (SCAAP) in Pennsylvania is in hot demand.

Demand is centered around basic weapons and munitions: 155-millimeter artillery roundsair defenses, communications equipmentshoulder-fired Javelin missiles and drones, nearly a dozen European military attachés in Washington told Reuters in a series of recent interviews.

One manufacturing plant manufacturing artillery rounds is SCAAP, which is housed on 15.3 acres with seven buildings and storage capacity of 509,000 square feet.

According to its website, Scranton has a government staff of eight Department of the Army, to provide installation management contract oversight. The government staff has a payroll budget of $.9 million.

The Scranton branch generally manufactures projectiles with in-house metallurgical testing, exceeding current ammunition manufacturing requirements, with no outsourcing and has multiple automated paint lines and with several heat treat furnaces that austenitize, quench, and temper.

The focus on high-volume, less costly weapons underscores how the war in Ukraine has reshaped strategic thinking in European capitals about how future conflicts could be fought.

Visions of high-tech wars more reliant on computers and machines have been replaced by the reality of relentless artillery duels and soldiers dug into muddy trenches. The one-year-old war has seen both sides expend vast quantities of artillery shells and missiles.

Expressions of interest from five European countries, are the first step in a multi-step acquisition process that includes approval from the United States government and negotiations between the buyer and weapons contractor. It can be a year or more before a weapon is actually delivered.

Demand is particularly high for 155 millimeter artillery shells. The war in Ukraine has highlighted the continued importance of artillery in helping to overwhelm enemy positions or thwart troop advances. The US last year shipped more than 1 million 155 millimeter shells to Ukraine, a standard round that costs the US Army about $800 each.

The US production goal for 155 millimeter rounds has tripled from 30,000 shells a month to 90,000 a month over the next two years, according to an Army official. The huge increase reflects the need to restock US supplies as well as those of allies including NorwayCanadaFinland, FranceGermany and Italy, who sent some of their stocks to Ukraine.

This SCAAP plant was originally constructed as a steam locomotive erecting and repair facility in 1908.

SCAAP was established in 1953 and operated by US Hoffman until 1963 when Chamberlain Manufacturing Corporation became the operating contractor.

General Dynamics, Ordnance and Tactical Systems assumed operation of the facility from Chamberlain in 2006 and is the current operating contractor.

Japan’s new H3 rocket fails to launch

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Japan's new H3 rocket fails to launch

Japan’s new H3 rocket fails to launch


Japan’s first H3 rocket could not be launched as scheduled Friday due to ignition issues, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said. The new rocket was to have lifted off from Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture at 10:37 a.m.

The main engine ignited, but the solid rocket boosters did not, JAXA said. The space agency and related bodies are investigating the cause and the launch may be set back some time depending on the findings.

“We don’t know much yet and it’s expected to take a while [to determine the cause],” JAXA’s press and media head Akitaka Kishi told reporters. “The rocket didn’t launch, so we’re not deeming it a failure, though it’s no longer possible to launch today.”

“We are sorry and we also are disappointed,” JAXA’s H3 rocket project manager Masashi Okada said at a press conference on Friday afternoon. “We’ll do our best” to determine the cause.

Okada stopped short of specifying a new schedule or any prospects of the rocket’s launch.

The H3 is regarded as the successor to the current H2A mainstay rocket. It is the first time in 22 years for the nation to revamp a large domestic rocket. With the H3, Japan hopes to spearhead the global satellite launch market by reducing costs and enhancing launch capability. However, the aborted takeoff means the effort is off to a shaky start.

In October, the Epsilon-6 solid-fuel rocket failed upon launch and a self-destruct signal was sent. The sixth H2A rocket also failed to blast off in 2003.

Two solid rocket boosters — 2.5 meters in diameter and 15 meters long — were to have supplemented the H3’s launch. The boosters, which are attached to the first-stage engine, should have ignited on signal after main engine ignition and adequate thrust were confirmed.

“It’s possible there was insufficient engine thrust or problems with transmitting the signal to the solid rocket boosters,” said Ko Ogasawara, a former chief engineer at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. and a Tokyo University of Science professor who has been involved in the H3’s evolution.

The H3 is the result of a joint undertaking by JAXA, MHI and other entities that began in 2014. The rocket is 57 meters long and 5.2 meters in diameter. About ¥206 billion has been poured into the project to date. The H3 was loaded with the government’s Earth observation satellite Daichi-3, which is designed to be used for such purposes as assessing damage in the event of a disaster.

The H3 is 30% more effective than the H2A with regard to injecting a satellite into a specific orbit and can accommodate variously sized satellites. Development costs were slashed through such initiatives as automating inspections and using lower-priced automotive parts for 90% of the rocket’s electronic components. To compete in the global satellite market, the development consortium strove to reduce the H3’s launch cost to about ¥5 billion — half that of the H2A.

The H3 was initially slated to launch in fiscal 2020. However, this plan was pushed back twice due to problems that included cracks and abnormal vibrations in the main engine. To address these issues JAXA redesigned the engine, among other steps. The final test of the H3’s rocket engine in November produced positive results. 

The Japan News

Asia News Network

ANN news highlights: Fri, Feb 17, 2023

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Friday, February 17, 2023

Friday, February 17, 2023


BabayCheck out what’s hot in the region as The Nation puts together headlines from members of Asia News Network (ANN). Click to read more:

ANN news highlights: Fri, Feb 17, 2023
Bringing Asia Closer

China resumes regular flights with 58 countries | China Daily

Japan Visitor Numbers Recover to More than Half of Pre-Pandemic Level – The Japan News

S Korea
Flights between S. Korea, China to rise to 80 per week by end-month: PM – Yonhap for Korea Herald

Earthquake Turkiye
In meeting with Erdogan, PM Shehbaz offers ‘heartfelt condolences’ to quake-hit Turkiye – Dawn

South China Sea
Coast guards to increase presence in West Philippine Sea to assist fishermen | Inquirer

Diplomacy S Korea-US
Yoon likely to hold summit with Biden in April to build on alliance – Korean Herald

Terror Indonesia
Indonesia’s anti-terrorism squad defused bomb ahead of Bali G-20 summit: Sources – Straits Times

City Malaysia
 Is the world’s largest roundabout in Malaysia? | The Star

Media India
Editorial: India’s BBC raids – Dawn

Heritage Philippines
Opinion: Wanted: More Unesco World Heritage Sites | Inquirer 

Asean Indonesia
Opinion: Indonesia’s ASEAN chairmanship is a moment of truth – Jakarta Post

Jobs Bangladesh
Editorial: We need skilled workers for more remittance The Daily Star

Feature: Elon Musk’s Takeover Floods Twitter with False Information – The Japan News

ChatGPT China
Global ChatGPT fever hits China even though service is not yet available – Straits Times

Logistics Cambodia
World Bank’s IFC inks deal on key logistics hub | Phnom Penh Post

Four tonnes of meat, 480 live cats seized at illegal slaughterhouse in Vietnam

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Four tonnes of meat, 480 live cats seized at illegal slaughterhouse in Vietnam

Four tonnes of meat, 480 live cats seized at illegal slaughterhouse in Vietnam


Authorities in the southern province of Dong Thap uncovered an illegal animal trade and meat processing operation, rescuing 480 live cats and seizing four tonnes of butchered carcasses.

A representative of the business admitted that the living cats would be transported to HCM City for resale while the processed animals would be sent to the northern region to be made into bone-based traditional medicines.

It is estimated that around 2,000 cats were butchered, as an average cat weighs approximately two kilogrammes.

An initial investigation revealed that the facility does not have any certificate for veterinary hygiene control, sufficient cold storage or proof of origin for animal products.

Local authorities have ordered the disposal of the frozen stock, while the remaining 480 cats will remain at the facility for health monitoring and vaccination.

Dong Thap Provincial Department of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary said that the facility does not meet the requirements for butchering and, therefore, could not process the 480 living animals.

However, the business can transport them to another location when they submit the required paperwork.

The environmental police department of the provincial police forces will handle the case. 

Viet Nam News

Asia News Network

Lukashenko invites Biden to Belarus to thrash out Ukraine peace deal with Putin

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Lukashenko invites Biden to Belarus to thrash out Ukraine peace deal with Putin

Lukashenko invites Biden to Belarus to thrash out Ukraine peace deal with Putin


Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Thursday he would invite his U.S. counterpart, Joe Biden, to hammer out a Ukraine peace deal with the Russian leader, Vladimir Putin.

“We will solve all the problems here,” Lukashenko told journalists.

The Belarusian leader made his remarks during what Belarus authorities described as an impromptu news conference for visiting international media, which lasted over three hours.

According to Lukashenko, instead of visiting Belarus, Biden would be coming to Poland ahead of the anniversary of what Russia calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine.

He accused Poland of trying to escalate the conflict in Ukraine.

Lukashenko also alleged that a missile strike against Belarus from the territory of Ukraine was being prepared, but added that he was not going to call up reservists in Belarus and that the Belarusian army would join Russian forces only if foreign troops set foot on Belarusian soil.

” Russia never asked us to join fight against Ukraine “

Lukashenko also said on Thursday that Moscow had never asked Belarus to join its “special military operation” in Ukraine, Belarus’s state-run Belta news agency reported.

“Russia never asked us to start a war together against Ukraine. Russia knows very well that I have lots of problems in areas around Brest, Grodno and in northern areas (bordering) with Lithuania,”  Lukashenko said.

” will give you no such chance (to involve Belarus in war). But should you dare to set a foot on our soil, the response will be terrifying. The Westerners know which (response it will be) and which weapons would be used. A terrifying response,” he added.

Russia used its ally Belarus as a staging post for sending tens of thousands of troops and pieces of military hardware into Ukraine from Belarus last February for its failed offensive on Kyiv.


Biden says he’ll speak to China’s Xi on balloon incident

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Biden says he'll speak to China's Xi on balloon incident

Biden says he’ll speak to China’s Xi on balloon incident


President Joe Biden said on Thursday he expects to speak with China’s President Xi Jinping about what the United States says was a Chinese spy balloon that a US fighter jet shot down early this month after it transited the United States.

“We are not looking for a new cold war,” Biden said.

Biden, in his most extensive remarks about the Chinese balloon and three unidentified objects downed by US fighters, did not say when he would speak with Xi but said the United States was continuing to engage diplomatically with China on the issue.

“I expect to be speaking with President Xi, I hope we are going to get to the bottom of this, but I make no apologies for taking down that balloon,” Biden said in response to complaints from Beijing.

China says the 200-foot (60-meter) balloon was for monitoring weather conditions, but Washington says it clearly was a surveillance balloon with a massive undercarriage containing electronics.

Biden, who had offered few public comments about the spate of aerial objects that began with the spotting of the Chinese balloon, broke his silence after lawmakers demanded more information on the incidents, which have baffled many Americans.

He said the US intelligence community was still trying to learn more about the three unidentified objects: one that was shot down over Alaska, one over Canada, and a third that plunged into Lake Huron. The administration has said they were downed because they posed a threat to civil aviation.

“We don’t yet know exactly what these three objects were, but nothing right now suggests they were related to the Chinese spy balloon program or they were surveillance vehicles from any other country,” Biden said.

The intelligence community believes the objects were “most likely balloons tied to private companies, recreation or research institutions,” Biden said.

Biden said they might have been spotted due to enhanced radar in response to the Chinese balloon.

“That’s why I’ve directed my team to come back to me with sharper rules for how we will deal with these unidentified objects moving forward, distinguishing between those that are likely to pose safety and security risks that necessitate action and those that do not.”

The remarks came amid reports that the Chinese balloon downed on Feb. 4 after crossing the continental United States originally had a trajectory that would have taken it over Guam and Hawaii but was blown off course by prevailing winds.

The incident prompted US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to postpone a planned visit to Beijing, where both sides had sought to stabilize already fraught relations.

Blinken’s scheduled attendance at the Munich Security Conference this weekend has raised speculation that he could meet China’s top diplomat Wang Yi there.

The Washington Post reported on Tuesday (February 14) that U.S. military and intelligence agencies tracked the balloon from when it lifted off from China’s southern island province of Hainan.

It was shot down off the coast of South Carolina, and American lawmakers have slammed the administration for letting it first drift across the country, including near sensitive military bases.

Beijing had criticized Washington for overreacting by shooting down the balloon and warned of “countermeasures against relevant US entities that undermine China’s sovereignty and security.”

On Thursday, China put Lockheed Martin Corp and a unit of Raytheon Technologies Corp on an “unreliable entities list” over arms sales to Taiwan, banning them from imports and exports related to China in its latest sanctions against the US companies.


ANN news highlights: Thur, Feb 16, 2023

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Thursday, February 16, 2023

Thursday, February 16, 2023


Check out what’s hot in the region as The Nation puts together headlines from members of Asia News Network (ANN). Click to read more:

ANN news highlights: Thur, Feb 16, 2023
Bringing Asia Closer

Earthquake Turkiye
Malaysia stands with Turkiye following earthquake disaster, says PM Anwar in Ankara  – The Star

S Korea
S. Korea shifts to rebuilding in Turkey – Korea Herald

Editorial: A lesson from Turkey quakes | Kuensel 

Media India
Indian tax probe of BBC a follow-up, not vindictive: official –  Reuters for Dawn

South China Sea I
Caution urged over Manila maneuvering China Daily

South China Sea II
‘Good gesture’: Pinoy fishers rescued by Chinese in PH waters | Inquirer

Tensions China-US I
China vows to take countermeasures after US unveils blacklist – World – China Daily

Tensions China-US II
Chinese chip association opposes the reported US, Dutch, Japan deal – China Daily

Heritage G20
Preservation of heritage theme of G-20 meet on culture – The Statesman

G20 India
Opinion: India’s G20 opportunity – The Statesman

Politics Indonesia
Editorial: Politics holds Papua hostage – Jakarta Post

Society Bangladesh
Opinion: The Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde in all of us The Daily Star

Business India
Hindenburg Research Report: Supreme Court moved for probe into Adani group of companies, SBI, LIC – The Statesman

Mineral Mongolia
Korea, Mongolia pledge rare earths cooperation – Korea Herald

Food Philippines
Marcos approves adoption of hybrid rice to boost crop yield | Inquirer