8 Injured In Tel Aviv Terror Attack

TEL AVIV, Israel, Aug. 29 (UPI) — A knife-wielding attacker rammed a car into a roadblock near a Tel Aviv, Israel, nightclub before dawn Monday, injuring at least eight Israelis, police said.

Some of the victims were stabbed, others hit by the car, investigators said. Two people were reported in serious condition.

Hundreds of teenagers had been attending an end-of-summer party at the club near the roadblock.

Police identified the attacker as a 20-year-old man from the West Bank town of Nablus who told them he planned to attack people in the club but was thwarted by the roadblock, Israel Radio said.

The man had flagged down a taxi near Jaffa and attacked the driver, stabbing him in the hand before forcing him out of the vehicle, the radio report said.

He then drove the taxi toward the nightclub and rammed the car into the roadblock, running over and injuring a border policeman and some civilians. Police said he then got out of the car screaming Allah akbar (God is Great) and attacked police officers and a security guard with a knife before he was overpowered and arrested, the report said.

Israel Police Chief Yohanan Danino praised the police officers at the scene. He said their presence prevented a graver outcome.

Danino said police were on alert and had set up a number of roadblocks in the area to coincide with the end of the Muslim month of Ramadan, the radio said.

22 Trapped In Flooded Chinese Mine

BEIJING, Aug. 29 (UPI) — Rescuers in northeast China’s Heilongjiang province worked Monday to save 22 workers trapped in a flooded coal mine for a week, officials said.

During the weekend, rescuers retrieved the body of a worker who had drowned and managed to bring out three others who were hospitalized in stable condition, China Daily reported.

“There is still hope for other survivors, but that depends on the rescue progress,” Li Xingyuan, a rescue operation spokesman, told China Daily.

The mine, located in the province’s Qitaihe city in Boli County, flooded Tuesday when workers mistakenly drilled into a neighboring deserted mine, causing water from that mine to gush in, the report said.

There were 45 workers in the pit 885 feet underground at the time but 19 of them managed to escape while the other 26 were trapped.

China Daily reported rescue workers were using 13 pumps to remove water from the mine.

Li said the unexpectedly large volume of water underground reflected a faulty pit map provided by the mine operator.

“We cannot estimate when we can pump out enough water to give a realistic chance of a rescue. The situation is changing constantly,” he said.

Rescue workers were trying to send food and medicine to the trapped workers, the report said.

One of the workers rescued Saturday was quoted as saying: “We had nothing to eat, just drank water all the time. Wearing a watch, I told the time to others and that gave us some hope.”

Last week, China’s safety authorities, cracking down of illegal coal mines blamed for a large number of deadly disasters, said they had shut down 1,289 illegal coal mines so far this year.

The death toll from coal mine disasters in the country in the first seven months of 2011 totaled 1,083, down 31 percent from the same period of last year, officials said.

South Korea Charges Five Men With Spying

SEOUL, Aug. 29 (UPI) — Prosecutors charged five South Korean men, including their alleged ringleader, with spying for North Korea, the Seoul district prosecutor’s office said.

The men are accused of working for an underground spying group called Wangjaesan, the name of a North Korean mountain, under the direction of a man called Kim, a report by the Yonhap news agency said.

Five other men are under investigation as part of the security authority’s crackdown on the group that operated allegedly for a decade out of Seoul passing military and political information to North Korea. But the five men aren’t under detention, Yonhap reported.

The indictments come after a report by Yonhap earlier this month that said “several members of a radical labor umbrella group,” the Federation of Korean Trade Unions, were being questioned over suspected involvement in an espionage case.

A report at the same time by the Web site IntelligenceNews said Seoul’s political establishment “has been rocked by the espionage scandal, which allegedly involves several trade unionists, academics and at least 10 members of the country’s opposition Democratic Party.”

IntelligenceNews said aside from Kim, those being questioned are senior members of the FTA, several academics and at least a dozen opposition political figures.

“Among the latter are members of South Korea’s left wing Democratic Labor Party, widely considered as the political wing for the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions,” the report said.

The latest reports on the indictments said the driving force behind Wangjaesan, Kim, 48, reportedly was recruited in the late 1980s or early 1990s and secretly met North Korea’s founder Kim Il Sung in August 1993.

In Seoul, Kim alleged set up Wangjaesan in 2001, supposedly recruiting people he knew from school.

Kim had been in frequent contact with North Korean agents over the years, mostly outside South Korea. He received orders on 34 occasions by making secret contact with North Koreans, mostly in China, Japan and Malaysia, the prosecution said.

One of the five indicted is a former secretary for the Liberal Party Member of Parliament Lim Chae-jung, who was chairman of the National Assembly from 2006-08, Yonhap reported.

Also, the five indicted men allegedly were decorated by North Korea for their espionage work.

Prosecutors say the five men passed on satellite images of major military installations, field manuals of U.S. forces in South Korea and information on politicians from several parties.

Some of the information they passed to the North concerned South Korea’s main airport at Incheon, on an island around 45 miles from Seoul, and the surrounding area.

The airport is strategically important to South Korea’s economy. Construction of Incheon airport began in November 1992 on reclaimed land between Yeongjong Island and Yongyu Island. It took eight years to build followed by six months of testing the facility before opening in March 2001.

It is one of the world’s busiest airports, and most efficient, for cargo movements, the membership organization Airports Council International said.

The Yonhap agency report gave no details of Kim’s education, family connections and work, except that he financed the spy ring using proceeds from his own local technology business and two other companies, also not named.

This month Han Sang-dae, the newly appointed prosecutor general, declared a war on pro-North Korean activities and corruption.

“The prosecution is the guardian of free democracy,” Han said in his inaugural address. “It is the prosecution’s obligation to crack down on North Korean followers and supporters operating in our society.”

Bus Hits Truck In China; 17 Killed

BEIJING, Aug. 29 (UPI) — A bus carrying migrant workers struck a parked trailer-truck in China, killing 17 people and injuring 17 others, police said.

The incident occurred Sunday in north China’s Hebei province, Xinhua reported.

Police said the truck was parked on a roadside in the province’s Zhangjiakou city.

Other details of the incident were not available.

Yoshihiko Noda To Be New Japan PM

TOKYO, Aug. 29 (UPI) — The ruling Democratic Party of Japan Monday elected Finance Minister Yoshihiko Noda, 54, as president, paving his way to become the next prime minister.

Noda, who will be the sixth prime minister in five years, defeated front-runner Industry Minister Banri Kaieda in a runoff in the party presidential election, Kyodo News reported. The party president normally becomes the prime minister.

Noda will succeed Naoto Kan, incumbent party chief and prime minister, who resigned last Friday under criticism of his government’s handling of the nuclear crisis and other disasters set off by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Kyodo reported in the initial round, Kaieda, 62, backed by the party’s powerful Ichiro Ozawa and his allies, won the votes of 143 of the 398 party lawmakers to Noda’s 102 votes, forcing a runoff between the two out of the total five contenders.

In the runoff, Noda, finance minister since June of last year, won 215 votes to Kaieda’s 177, Wall Street Journal reported.

The Journal said Noda is seen as a steady fiscal conservative.

Until his election Noda has been dealing with the sharp jump in the value of yen against the U.S. dollar and other hard currencies, which has been hurting exporters as a higher yen makes their goods costlier.

Japan, whose economy suffered hundreds of billions of dollars in damage in the March 11 disaster, needs to sharply boost its exports to sustain its weak economic recovery.

The Journal reported Noda was able to pickup support in the runoff from the eliminated candidates, former Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara, Agriculture Minister Michihiko Kano, and former Transport Minister Sumio Mabuchi.

The report said on funding finance quake reconstruction, Noda has been calling for tax increases.

Prior to the election, the Japanese government announced various responses the next administration could adopt to tackle the rising yen against the U.S. dollar.

The suggestions include financial assistance to exporters affected by the yen rise, and encouraging Japanese businesses to sell the yen for U.S. dollars and other major currencies for investments overseas.

Plane Rear-ends Car

AMERICAN CANYON, Calif., Aug. 29 (UPI) — A small plane making an emergency landing on a California highway Sunday rear-ended a car, injuring two people inside the vehicle, police said.

The California Highway Patrol said the accident occurred about 12:30 p.m. on Highway 29 at American Canyon when the plane’s engine stalled while attempting to land at Napa County Airport, the Vallejo Times Herald reported.

The plane’s wing hit the car, causing the aircraft to spin out and hit a light standard.

Neither of the two people aboard the six-passenger Beechcraft were hurt, while the two people in the car suffered minor injuries, the newspaper said.

Fort Bragg Official Shot To Death

FORT BRAGG, Calif., Aug. 29 (UPI) — Authorities in California say they are searching for the killer of a Fort Bragg city councilman shot to death while investigating a marijuana-growing operation.

The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office said Council Member Jere Melo was killed Saturday near the Noyo River, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“Jere is probably the hardest-working councilman ever,” Fort Bragg Mayor Dave Turner said. “He’s a guy that gets along with everybody. He brought civility to the council.”

Melo is survived by his wife Madeleine and two children, Turner said.

The Times said Melo had heard about a marijuana-growing operation and went with another man to investigate. The mayor said someone “jumped up and opened fire.”

The man with Melo got away and called authorities.

Police said they were looking for transient, Aaron Bassler, who is in his 30s, as a suspect.

Millions In China Face Water Shortage

BEIJING, Aug. 29 (UPI) — A drought in southwestern China has left millions of people facing a drinking water shortage, authorities said Monday.

The worst hit is Guizhou province, where 5.47 million people are going thirsty, while in neighboring Yunnan province, at least 1.5 million are without adequate drinking water, China Daily reported.

In Guizhou, people in some of the villages have been forced to leave their homes because of the shortage, China Daily reported.

The article carried a photograph showing a farmer sitting at the bottom of well that has dried up.

The drought also has emptied 479 reservoirs and dried up 349 rivers in the province, the report said. Rainfall this year is only a third of the annual average.

There also have been reports of farmers complaining of losing their crops due to the drought.

“I’ve never left the village before in my life, but the family can’t survive now the drought has destroyed all our rice and corn,” one village woman said.

Provincial relief authorities said the drought, which started in late June, has affected 87 of the province’s 88 counties. In Guiding County, authorities said more than 90 percent of rice and corn, the main crops, have been blighted.

“Farmers who grow tobacco at least have something to exchange for food, but those who only grow rice and corn have to find other solutions,” a county official said.

The government is taking several steps to help the people, including transporting drinking water to them.

Provincial weather bureau warned over the weekend the drought could last until the middle of September.

In Yunnan province, high temperatures and the drought have dried up more than 60 rivers and nearly 300 reservoirs, the report said.

Nearly 1,000 Busted In China Pork Scandal

BEIJING, Aug. 29 (UPI) — Chinese authorities have arrested 989 people accused of making and selling clenbuterol, blamed in the recent tainted pork scandal, an official said Monday.

Xu Hu, a senior official in the Ministry of Public Security, said the arrests came after police busted a criminal ring involved in the manufacture and sale of clenbuterol in 63 cities nationwide, Xinhua reported. The illegal drug is used as an additive in pig feed to help burn fat and make pork meat leaner but is poisonous to people consuming the tainted meat.

Pork is the most consumed meat in China and rising prices for it have been blamed as the main reason for China’s rising inflation, a matter of much concern to government’s economic policy makers.

The clenbuterol-tainted pork scandal, which came to light in March, has heightened consumer concern across the country, forcing authorities to come down hard on violators. The scandal is one of the latest in a string of cases that have raised serious questions about the safety and reliability of Chinese food and other products, and have hurt China’s image overseas.

The official Chinese media have been publishing hard-hitting articles on these scandals.

Xu said in the latest crackdown, police seized 2.75 tons of clenbuterol and closed six illegal laboratories, 12 production lines, 19 processing and storage sites, and 32 “underground” factories, Xinhua said.

The crackdown, led by 2,000 police officers, is focused largely in Hunan, Sichuan, Hubei and Henan provinces.