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Daily Archives: August 8, 2009

Mumbai attacks gunman tries to plead guilty to all charges

The sole surviving gunman from last year's Mumbai attacks, a Pakistani national, yesterday told a court that he wanted to plead guilty to all the charges against him.
Mohammed Ajmal Kasab made the request to judge M.L. Tahaliyani as ballistics evidence was being heard at the special prison court in the city. Tahaliyani told him to consult his lawyer.
Kasab is being tried on a string of charges, including waging war against India, murder and attempted murder. He faces the death penalty if convicted.
The 21-year-old had initially pleaded not guilty but then stunned the court last month with a detailed confession to his role in the attack.
The judge ruled that the confession amounted to only a "partial admission" of guilt to some of the charges and therefore continued the trial.
Tahaliyani on Friday said Kasab's latest statement was "too vague" and again placed it on record to be considered when he comes to deliver his verdict. He then continued hearing witness testimony.
Kasab is accused of being one of the 10 Islamist militant gunmen who attacked a number of targets in Mumbai last November, killing 166 people and wounding more than 300 others.
He and an accomplice are alleged to have committed the bloodiest episode in the 60-hour reign of terror, opening fire with AK-47 assault rifles and throwing grenades at commuters at the city's main railway station.
Some 52 people died and 109 others were injured there.

Flood threat along river in southwest China diminishing

A massive landslide that blocked a river in southwest China is slowly being washed downstream, diminishing the danger to a hydroelectric dam and communities along the waterway, the government said yesterday.
The landslide occurred on the Dadu river in Sichuan province's Hanyuan county late Thursday, leaving two people dead and 18 others injured, the Ministry of Water Resources said in a report on its website.
"At present, two-thirds of the landslide debris in the Dadu river has been washed away and the water level is gradually falling, diminishing the danger and alert along the lower reaches," the ministry said.
"Those who have been evacuated are returning."
It was not immediately known how many people, if any, were missing.
Early yesterday, the massive flow of mud and rocks had blocked the river, leaving only a trickle flowing through to the Pubugou hydroelectric dam and raising concerns that a sudden breach would engulf downstream communities, Xinhua news agency reported earlier.
"Several tens of thousands of people" had been evacuated from Jinkouhe district of Leshan prefecture, home to the world's largest Buddha which overlooks the Dadu, Xinhua said.
Torrential rain and landslides have killed nearly 70 people and left almost as many missing in south and central China since the beginning of June, state media reported last week.
On July 24, another landslide on the Dadu river engulfed makeshift housing for a dam construction crew in Shalian, leaving about 50 people missing and four confirmed dead, earlier reports said.
Parts of the Dadu run through areas rocked by a huge 8.0-magnitude earthquake in May last year that triggered landslides in Sichuan's mountainous regions. Nearly 87,000 people were left dead or missing in the quake.