Monday, June 16, 2008

Flood warning after Chinese rains

A resident paddles on a home-made raft on a flooded street at Xiaojiejiao Village at Humen Township in Dongguan, 13 June
Many southern provinces have been affected by flooding

China has warned that one of its longest waterways, the Yellow River, is in danger of bursting its banks.

The warning follows heavy rain in the north of China.

The south has also been hit by bad weather. Dozens of people are dead after heavy storms, and more than a million have had to leave their homes.

At least 20 people have died in the province of Guangdong, and the authorities there say economic losses are extensive.

More rain is expected to batter both regions in the coming days.

'China's sorrow'

The national meteorological service warned that the 5,500 km (3,400 mile) Yellow River might see "quite large" floods this year, according to the state news agency Xinhua.

Heavy rain in the next few days would "increase the destructiveness of flood hazards, and make the flood prevention and relief situation nationwide even more serious", Xinhua said.

Millions of people live along the river, but according to the BBC's Dan Griffiths in Beijing it is not clear how many might be affected if the river breaches its banks.

The river is the second longest in the nation, and is often referred to as China's sorrow because of its long history of devastating floods.

Elsewhere torrential rain has continued to batter several provinces in southern China, leading to widespread flooding.

At least 57 people have died, and 1.27 million others have fled their homes, state media reported on Monday.

The flooding has submerged large areas of farmland and destroyed thousands of homes in Guangdong and Jiangxi provinces.

The flooding in the Pearl river delta is the worst for 50 years, submerging large areas of farmland and destroying thousands of homes in Guangdong, and prompting the local government to issue an emergency flood alert.

"A major flood is feared if rain continues," Huang Boqing, deputy director of the province's flood control and drought relief headquarters, told the China Daily newspaper.

In all the torrential downpours have affected nine provinces - one of which, Sichuan, is still reeling from last month's massive earthquake.

Some 87,000 people were killed or reported missing after the 12 May earthquake.

China 's rainy season causes chaos every year, often leaving many dead and forcing millions to leave their homes.

In the past, the Chinese authorities have warned that climate change may make the problem worse, our correspondent says.

Original here

Police: Officer kills man who beat child to death

TURLOCK, Calif. - Police killed a 27-year-old man as he kicked, punched and stomped a toddler to death despite other people's attempts to stop him on a dark, country road, authorities said.

Investigators on Sunday were trying to establish the relationship between the suspect and the child they say he killed Saturday night. The Stanislaus County coroner said the boy appeared to be between 1 and 2 years old based on his size, according to county sheriff's deputy Royjindar Singh.

"It's been a long night of wondering, 'Why?' — not only for the officers and the passers-by who stopped and tried to help out, but for anyone. Why would somebody do this?" Singh said.

Singh said the coroner does not plan to confirm the identities of the suspect and victim until Monday. Because his injuries were so severe, the child will have to be identified through a blood or DNA test, he said.

The suspect had a child's car seat in the back of his four-door pickup truck. The truck caught the attention of an elderly couple at 10:13 p.m. Saturday because it was stopped in the two-lane road facing the wrong direction, Singh said.

Man pushed off efforts to stop him
As they got closer, the couple saw the man brutally beating the toddler behind his truck and throwing the child on the ground, according to Singh. Two or three other cars stopped, an unusual number to be passing through the remote area surrounded by a dairy, a cow pasture, a cornfield and a farmhouse, he said.

"What we got from witnesses is he was punching, slapping, kicking, stomping, shaking," Singh said. "They tried to intervene and get involved, but their efforts really didn't have an effect. The suspect was engaged in what he was doing. He just pushed them off and went back to it."

A sheriff's helicopter responding to emergency calls from the area landed in a cow pasture at 10:19 p.m. carrying a Modesto police officer who shot the man to death after he refused an order to stop beating the child, Singh said.

Paramedics tried to resuscitate the toddler, who was not breathing when they arrived. The boy was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

No children within the dead boy's age range have been reported kidnapped or missing in Stanislaus County, Singh said.

The incident happened on Bradbury Road about 10 miles west of Turlock, a city located about halfway between Sacramento and Fresno.

Original here