Did You Know
North Korea has shrugged off numerous sets of sanctions aimed at crimping its nuclear and missile programmes, and this month unveiled what it said was a working hydrogen bomb.
NEW YORK: North Korea may test a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific Ocean, its foreign minister said on Thursday (Sep 21).
Ri Yong Ho was asked what leader Kim Jong Un might do after President Donald Trump warned that the United States would “totally destroy North Korea” if it was forced to defend itself or its allies.
He said Pyongyang could consider a hydrogen bomb test on the Pacific Ocean of an unprecedented scale, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported.
Ri said the potential test of "the most powerful detonation of an H-bomb" would be one possible "highest-level" action against the US, according to Yonhap.
Ri, who was talking to reporters in New York, however said he did not know Kim's exact thoughts, according to the report.
On Friday, North Korean state news agency KCNA quoted Kim as saying that he would make Trump "pay dearly" for his remarks at the United Nations General Assembly.
Earlier in September, North Korea detonated a hydrogen bomb at its Punggye-ri nuclear test site in the northeast of the country - causing a magnitude 6.3 earthquake.
David Beckham meeting contestants at the AIA Vitality Healthy Cookout Showdown at Clifford Square to promote healthy eating for his sponsor. The former England captain had noodles, rice and chicken for lunch yesterday.
He may have retired as a footballer four years ago, but David Beckham is still one of the biggest draws in sport.
That was evident in the deluge of England, Manchester United and Real Madrid shirts thrust in his direction in the hope of an autograph from the Englishman, who showed up before a crowd of 200 at Clifford Square yesterday afternoon for an event with his sponsor AIA.
Dubbed the AIA Healthy Living Tour, the public-relations extravaganza sees Team Beckham - numbering 30 in assorted minders who manage everything from his sponsorships, travel plans and security - embark on a mad dash around Asia.
Beckham arrived at 6.30am yesterday from Seoul. Three days before, the 42-year-old was in Hong Kong. And, after a night's stay at the Marina Bay Sands (MBS) - a resort he is an ambassador for - he will jet off to Malaysia this morning for the final leg of his road show for the insurance company.
No questions were allowed from the 30-odd media pack. And the man with 115 England caps, six English Premier League titles and one Champions League medal did not even talk about football.
The fashion icon did share how clean living and eating made him into a player of worldwide repute.
An oft-repeated message from Beckham is how he sets an example for his three sons and daughter by having a balanced diet. Salad is a staple although he allows his children the occasional hamburger, chocolate and bag of potato chips.
He said: "I have four children who have seen their daddy work out and be fit for 20 years, I need to continue that to stay healthy, to stay fit, to give them a good example."
Ever the savvy marketing dream, he sportingly tried to sign as many autographs for his fans as he could yesterday, and even gave a quick nod to the local cuisine.
"I love chilli crab and it's something that since I've been to this part of the world, it's something that I will always try to get one when I'm here," he said.
While he would only say that he had noodles, rice and chicken for lunch, a post on his Instagram account revealed that he probably dined at Michelin-starred Liao Fan Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle. But it is unclear which of the three outlets he was at.
In the evening, he posted a snap from the infinity pool atop MBS. And what else could one find out from one of the most recognisable faces in the world, during his whirlwind tour? He let on that he loves spices - cilantro, thyme and jalapeno. And his favourite, Posh.
His playing days may be over, but football idol David Beckham still draws the crowds everywhere he goes. The former England captain and Manchester United superstar was kept busy taking wefies and signing autographs yesterday at Clifford Square, where he was a guest at insurer AIA's Vitality Healthy Cookout contest, in which participants vied to create healthier versions of local dishes such as nasi lemak. The 42-year-old shared his healthy eating habits and sportingly made time for as many of his fans as he could during his hour-long appearance.
This picture taken on Aug 27, 2017 shows a police vehicle and people next to houses burnt by Rohingya militants in Maungdaw township in Rakhine State in Myanmar.
KUALA LUMPUR: For years, Myanmar’s Rohingya ethnic minority eschewed violence, fleeing to neighbouring Bangladesh and other Southeast Asian countries each time the country’s military threatened them.
That was until October 2016, when a ragtag insurgent group armed with machetes and crude weapons calling themselves Harakah Al-Yaqin (HAY), or Faith Movement, staged two attacks on police posts in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, killing nine policemen and making off with 62 firearms.
“They (Rohingya) had been very, very patient in dealing with a very unjust situation … they had not resorted to arms for a very long time - until October last year,” said political scientist Chandra Muzaffar, president of the Kuala Lumpur-based International Movement for a Just World (JUST).
“Other ethnic minorities like the Karens, Kachins … they resorted to taking up arms against the government a long time ago,” Chandra added.
The Karens have been fighting for an independent state since 1949, while the Kachins have been fighting since 1961. Both groups have signed ceasefires which are regularly broken.
Sometime this year, HAY rebranded itself as the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), led by Attullah Abu Amar Jununi.
On Aug 25, ARSA staged a second and bigger attack targeting 30 police posts in Rakhine, killing 12 members of the security forces. The attack involved about 150 to 200 militants in a pre-dawn raid.
The military responded with a ferocious crackdown, sending 420,000 Rohingyas fleeing to Bangladesh. The violence has resulted in the deaths of 400 people.
Myanmar’s government promptly declared ARSA a terrorist organisation.
ARSA’S ATTACKS DESIGNED TO PROVOKE A RESPONSE: REPORT
Pit against Myanmar’s powerful military, ARSA is outgunned and outnumbered.
“Joining ARSA is like committing suicide,” 28-year-old Rohingya refugee Mohamed Imran told us.
“I am not interested in joining them (ARSA) but there are some young people who do because they are angry and frustrated with the Myanmar government,” added Imran, who came to Malaysia in July.
According to Professor Zachary Abuza of the National War College in Washington DC, ARSA’s attacks were meant to provoke a heavy-handed response to gain international attention and sympathy which in turn would aid recruitment and weapons procurement.
ARSA had launched the attacks knowing full well the military would respond with “clearance operation” and “egregious violations of human rights", Prof Abuza wrote in an upcoming report seen by us.
“The government’s abusive policies will further drive recruitment into ARSA. This is the self-fulfilling prophecy of extremists,” said Prof Abuza who specialises in insurgencies and militant groups in Southeast Asia.
“Only people with nothing left to lose would be willing to defy the odds and join a poorly funded group against the Myanmar military, which is the 11th largest in the world with a long track record of repression against ethnic minorities,” Prof Abuza added.
A regional security source familiar with militant groups in ASEAN concurred.
“With the violent Myanmar’s military crackdown, ARSA now has the international attention it wants to further its cause,” said the regional source who declined to be named.
Asked whether it was a terrible price to pay to draw attention to the plight of Rohingyas, he said: “Yes, it is. But for ARSA, it feels it does not have too many much choices.
"Without an armed group, some Rohingyas feel they would not have much traction with Myanmar or even the international community."
In the meantime, joining HAY/ARSA is now becoming “farj” - a religious obligation in the squalid refugee camps in Bangladesh, according to Prof Abuza.
“ARSA also stands to benefit from the precariousness of life for the 600,000 people now living in squalid refugee camps. People often join militant groups for protection against gangs, and in the hopes of additional food and medical supplies,” Prof Abuza added.
To date, ARSA is largely a homegrown organisation with little or no links to international terror groups.
“It is only a question of time before it attracts funding from the Middle East and elsewhere,” said the regional source.
WHO IS HAY/ARSA?
HAY was founded by Attullah Abu Amar Jununi, who was born in Karachi to Rohingya parents and raised in Saudi Arabia.
He came to Bangladesh following the 2012 pogroms against Rohingyas in Myanmar and began to organise the group.
Attullah claims that HAY was founded in 2015 with support by a large network of nearly a million Rohingya emigres, spread from Malaysia to the Persian Gulf. There is little evidence of the group before mid-2016, wrote Prof Abuza.
HAY is thought to be run by a 20-person council based in Saudi Arabia. And it has worked assiduously to recruit from across the Rohingya diaspora, calling on religious leaders to issue fatwas endorsing their leadership.
Attullah joined forces with Hafiz Tohar, a Pakistani-trained militant who founded the Aqa Mul Mujahideen (AMM), the Faith Movement of Arakan
In 2017, HAY and AMM merged and rebranded themselves as the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), ostensibly to appear less Islamist and as a legitimate ethno-nationalist group fighting in self-defence,” wrote Prof Abuza.
Despite the Saudi and Gulf roots of HAY/ARSA, to date there has not been sufficient evidence to link HAY/ARSA to the broader jihadist community, according to Prof Abuza.
ROHINGYA CRISIS GALVANISING INTERNATIONAL TERROR GROUPS
To date, ARSA has taken pains to disavow links with international terrorist organisations in a statement posted on its official Twitter account on Sep 14.
“ARSA feels it is necessary to make it clear that it has no links with Al Qaeda, the Islamic State, Laskar-e-Taiba or any transnational terrorist group and we do not welcome the involvement of these groups in the Arakan conflict,” said Arsa.
But as footage of gruesome killings of Rohingyas spread, it has caught the attention of Al Qaeda who last week issued a call to Muslims to wage jihad against Myanmar’s military to defend the Rohingyas.
“While security forces in the region need to be on alert for militants traveling to join HAY/Arsa, a more pressing concern is that whether HAY/ARSA asks for support from external organisations or not, it (will) get it,” said Prof Abuza.
“The plight of the Rohingya is big news in the Muslim world, and their cause is being championed from politicians, to the middle class and hardline Islamists,” Prof Abuza added.
On Wednesday, Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman warned that the precarious situation pertaining to issues on the Rohingya in Myanmar's Rakhine state must be addressed urgently, or else it will provide a fertile breeding ground for the recruitment of extremists.
"Should this happen, Malaysia and neighbouring countries would bear the brunt of serious instability to the region (ASEAN)," said Anifah during the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Contact Group’s session on the Rohingya issue in New York.
Rescuers and volunteers work clearing rubbles and debris from a site where a multi-storey building was flattened by a 7.1-magnitude quake in Mexico.
MEXICO CITY: Rescuers dug frantically on Wednesday (Sep 20) for survivors of a 7.1- magnitude earthquake that killed more than 200 people in Mexico, as the nation watched anxiously for signs of life at a collapsed school in the capital.
The death toll stood at 225, the head of the national disaster response agency, Luis Felipe Puente, wrote on Twitter. President Enrique Pena Nieto warned the figure would likely rise.
Firefighters, police, soldiers and volunteers worked to remove rubble, hoping to find survivors beneath the remains of collapsed buildings, in scenes repeated across a swath of central states.
Firefighters cut concrete steel bars to clear the rubble on the site where a multi-storey building was flattened by a 7.1-magnitude quake in Mexico City.
The most agonising search was at the school in the south of Mexico City where 21 children - aged between seven and 13 - and five adults were crushed to death. Many children were still missing.
By Wednesday afternoon, 24 hours after the quake struck, rescuers working under the gaze of anguished parents had managed to locate several signs of life under the rubble using a thermal scanner.
"They are alive! Alive!" shouted Civil Protection volunteer Enrique Gardia, 37. "Someone hit a wall several times in one place, and in another there was a response to light signals with a lamp," he said.
"We have been at this since yesterday but we cannot reach them, because they are trapped between two slabs..."
So far, 11 children and at least one teacher have been rescued from the rubble of the Enrique Rebsamen elementary and middle school.
Rescue teams work at the severely damaged Rebsamen school, one day after the 7.1-magnitude quake, in Mexico City.
"No one can possibly imagine the pain I'm in right now," said one mother, Adriana Fargo, who was standing outside what remained of the school waiting for news of her seven-year-old daughter.
In the Condesa neighborhood, Karen Guzman sat on a stool in the street with her back to one of the collapsed buildings. She said she could not bear the tension of the search for around 30 people thought to be under the rubble, among them her brother.
Beside her were two street poles tagged with lists of rescued people, but they do not include the name of her brother Juan Antonio, a 43-year-old accountant who worked on the top floor of the four-story building.
"My mom is looking for him in hospitals because we don't trust those lists. Sometimes I think nobody knows anything," she said.
Rescue workers reported that families were getting WhatsApp messages pleading for help from desperate relatives trapped under debris.
Mexico City mayor Miguel Angel Mancera told Televisa TV that 39 buildings in the capital had collapsed. Searches were under way in all but five where rescuers had determined that nobody remained trapped, he said.
At least 40 people have been found alive in two of the collapsed buildings.
NOWHERE TO GO
Many residents were preparing to spend a second night in parks and plazas, in tents or makeshift shelters, unable or unwilling to return to their homes as authorities inspected some 600 buildings whose walls swayed and cracked when the quake struck.
"If you don't feel safe, you are advised not to stay in your home," warned Carlos Valdes, head of the national disaster center.
Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray thanked the international community for offers of help in an unusual special intervention at the UN General Assembly.
"We have identified which countries have the teams and equipment that we need right now to support rescue efforts."
US President Donald Trump called Pena Nieto and offered assistance and search-and-rescue teams which are now being deployed, the White House said.
Chile and El Salvador pledged aid, while Israel said it was sending a team of 70 soldiers including engineers and search and rescue specialists which would arrive Friday.
The quake hit on the anniversary of a huge quake in 1985 that killed more than 10,000 people, the disaster-prone country's deadliest ever.
Tuesday's struck just two hours after Mexico held a national earthquake drill, as it does every Sep 19 to remember the 1985 disaster.
Adding to the national sense of vulnerability, the earthquake struck just 12 days after another quake that killed nearly 100 people in southern Mexico.
Experts said the two quakes did not appear to be related, as their epicenters were far apart.
Mexico sits atop five tectonic plates, making it particularly vulnerable to earthquakes.
Puente, the national disaster response agency chief, said that of the dead, 94 were in Mexico City, 71 in Morelos, 43 in Puebla, 12 in Mexico state, four in Guerrero and one in Oaxaca.
In Puebla, a picturesque colonial city near the quake's epicenter, several churches were damaged and one collapsed, killing 11 people, officials said.
Power had been restored to 85 percent of the Mexican capital, although the state electricity company maintained cuts to areas where rescue work was taking place, for fear of accidental electrocution or fires.
In the states of Puebla and Morelos, rescue work is also continuing in homes and destroyed buildings.
In a gesture of solidarity with the victims, the Real Madrid and Real Betis teams held a minute's silence before their Spanish league match late Wednesday.
Smoke is seen billowing in an area inland in Myanmar's Rakhine state as seen from the Bangladeshi shore of the Naf river on Sep 14, 2017.
UNITED NATIONS: Myanmar insisted Wednesday (Sep 20) to the United Nations that the crisis in violence-torn Rakhine state was easing after heavy international criticism.
Myanmar's second vice president Henry Van Thio addressed the annual UN General Assembly in the place of leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who a day earlier delivered a speech calling for patience.
Van Thio's remarks are even less likely than Suu Kyi's to mollify global concerns as he questioned the reasons for the flight of members of the Rohingya Muslim minority.
"I am happy to inform you that the situation has improved," Van Thio said in his address, saying there have been no clashes since September 5.
"Accordingly, we are concerned by reports that the numbers of Muslims crossing into Bangladesh remain unabated. We would need to find out the reason for this exodus," he said.
The United Nations says more than 420,000 Rohingya have fled for safety to Bangladesh in the face of an army campaign that includes the burning of villages and rape.
French President Emmanuel Macron earlier Wednesday described the campaign as genocide.
Van Thio did not use the term Rohingya, referring to them simply as Muslims. The Rohingya are widely reviled in the Buddhist-majority country.
Van Thio noted that the army campaign came in response to a rebel attack and said that non-Muslims have also suffered.
But Myanmar's third-in-command thanked foreign countries for support, not referring directly to their criticism.
"Humanitarian assistance is our first priority. We are committed to ensuring that aid is received by all those in need, without discrimination," Van Thio said.
Suu Kyi's stance has disheartened human rights groups who had campaigned for her freedom during the Nobel Peace Prize winner's 15 years under house arrest by a military junta.
But analysts say that Suu Kyi, while now the country's leader, may not be able to curb the army even if she took the political risk of speaking out.
US President Donald Trump addresses the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York.
SEOUL: North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho called US President Donald Trump's address to the United Nations "the sound of a dog barking", brushing aside Trump's remarks that the United States may be forced to "totally destroy" North Korea.
"There is a saying that goes: 'Even when dogs bark, the parade goes on'," said Ri in televised remarks to reporters in front of a hotel near the United Nations headquarters in New York.
"If (Trump) was thinking about surprising us with dog-barking sounds then he is clearly dreaming."
When asked by reporters what he thought of Trump calling North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "rocket man", Ri quipped, "I feel sorry for his aides."
Ri is slated to make a UN speech on Friday (Sep 22).
His comments were the first official reaction from North Korea after Trump had issued his sternest warning yet to Pyongyang in his address to the United Nations, urging member states to work together to isolate the Kim regime until it halts its hostile behaviour.
If North Korea threatens the United States or its allies, Trump said: "We will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea."
"Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and his regime," he added.
South Korea's presidential office had later said Trump's warning to North Korea had been "firm and specific".
Violence in northern Myanmar's Rakhine state has sparked an exodus of hundreds of thousands of stateless Muslim Rohingya, generating international alarm.
UKHIA, Bangladesh: Bangladesh has launched a birth control drive in its overcrowded Rohingya refugee camps, an official said on Tuesday (Sep 19), fearing a population boom would worsen the humanitarian crisis unfolding along its border.
Family planning teams have been deployed to offer advice and distribute condoms and other contraceptives throughout its ill-equipped camps, which have been overwhelmed by the arrival of 420,000 Rohingya refugees since Aug 25.
Authorities have already identified 70,000 new or expectant mothers among the latest influx from Myanmar, and fear without intervention the population pressures could worsen in coming months as the crisis drags on.
"They have six, seven, eight, nine, 10 children," said Pintu Kanti Bhattacharjee, head of the government's family planning department in Cox's Bazar district where the camps are located.
"We are very worried. If they are here for another six months to a year, another 20,000 children will be born."
Mothers with newborns, pregnant women and enormous families with more than 10 children are not uncommon among the camps.
Bangladesh is building a large new camp to accommodate hundreds of thousands of these new arrivals fleeing violence across the border, but space is stretched very thin.
Whole families are sleeping outdoors and squatting in farmland, roadsides and vacant buildings, with competition for food, shelter and other essentials intensifying as the number of new arrivals climbs.
Bhattacharjee said officials on the ground were "counselling" new Rohingya arrivals about family planning, a new concept for many, and trying to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
Officials on the ground were distributing contraceptives to men and women with mixed results, he added.
Mujibur Rahman, a Rohingya man in the Kutupalong refugee camp in Ukhia, was open to the condoms and birth control pills he received in a handout.
"These will definitely help us," the 25-year-old told us.
But others were not so sure.
"I thought it was a food pack," said Mohammad Mostafiz, a 40-year-old Rohingya man, who has two wives and 14 children.
"It is our religious duty to have children. Using medicines to prevent childbirth is a sin. I don't think my family will use this stuff."
Bangladesh has been praised for its efforts to handle the growing crisis, but aid groups warn the situation remains dire.
Police on Tuesday cleared squatters and dismantled shanties around Kutupalong, one of the largest camps, where the roads are choked with refugees and long queues of traffic snake from aid centres.
Police warned those squatting on roadsides they could be arrested if they refused to move. The government has been trying to herd refugees into designated areas, fearful that nearby cities could be overwhelmed if they are left unchecked.
In this file photo taken on Aug 27, 2015, former Soviet missile defence forces officer Stanislav Petrov poses for a photo at his home in Fryazino, Moscow region, Russia.
MOSCOW: Stanislav Petrov, a Soviet military officer who is widely credited with helping prevent a nuclear war with the United States, has died aged 77, his son told us on Tuesday (Sep 19).
Petrov, whose extraordinary story was told in a documentary titled "The Man Who Saved the World", received several international awards, was honoured at the United Nations and met Hollywood superstars such as Robert De Niro and Matt Damon.
Yet Petrov lived in a small town outside Moscow and died in relative obscurity on May 19, his death making headlines in Russia and abroad only months later when a German friend wrote a blog post about his death.
In September 1983, Petrov was an officer on duty at a secret command centre south of Moscow when an alarm went off signalling that the United States had launched intercontinental ballistic missiles.
The officer - who had only a few minutes to make a decision and was not sure about the incoming data - dismissed the warning as a false alarm.
Had he told his commanders of an imminent US nuclear strike, the Soviet leadership - locked in an arms race with Washington - might have ordered a retaliatory strike.
Instead the 44-year-old lieutenant colonel reported a system malfunction and an investigation that followed afterwards proved he was right.
'HE SIMPLY DID HIS JOB'
Petrov came home only several days later but did not tell his family about what had happened. "He came home knackered but did not tell us anything," his son Dmitry said.
Several months later Petrov received an award "for services to the Fatherland" but the incident at the control centre was kept secret for many years.
In 1984, he left the military and settled in the town of Fryazino some 20 kilometres (12 miles) northeast of Moscow.
Petrov's story only came to light after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 and over the years he became the subject of numerous media reports in Russia and abroad.
A modest, self-effacing man, Petrov never thought of himself as a hero, said his son. "My father could not have cared less. He was always surprised that people were making a hero out of him," he said.
"He simply did his job well," Petrov's son said, adding that his father received some hundred letters from Europeans thanking him for averting the outbreak of a nuclear war.
"The Man Who Saved the World", a documentary film directed by Danish filmmaker Peter Anthony and narrated by US actor Kevin Costner, was released in 2014.
Footage of the elderly Petrov is combined with re-enactments of what happened at that secret control centre in 1983.
"I categorically refused to be guilty of starting World War III," Petrov said in the film. "I felt like I was being led to an execution," he said of those dramatic moments.
LONDON: People who sleep poorly may be more likely to develop a chronic pain condition and have worse physical health, a study from the UK suggests.
A general decline in both the quantity and quality of hours slept led to a two- to three-fold increase in pain problems over time, researchers found.
“Sleep and pain problems are two of the biggest health problems in today’s society,” said lead study author Esther Afolalu of the University of Warwick in Coventry.
Pain is known to interfere with sleep, she told Reuters Health by email. But the new study shows “that the impact of sleep on pain is often bigger than (the impact of) pain on sleep”, she said.
Sleep disturbances, she added, contribute to problems in the ability to process and cope with pain.
Afolalu and colleagues reviewed 16 studies involving more than 60,000 adults from 10 countries.
The studies looked at how well people were sleeping at the start, and then evaluated the effects of long-term sleep changes on pain, immune function and physical health. Half the participants were tracked for at least four and a half years.
AdvertisementOverall, sleep reductions led to impaired responses to bacteria, viruses and other foreign substances, more inflammation, higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol and other biomarkers related to pain, fatigue and poor health.
Newly developed insomnia doubled the risk of a chronic pain disorder and hip fracture problems, the study authors wrote in the journal Sleep Medicine.
Deterioration in sleep was also associated with worse self-reported physical functioning.
At the same time, researchers didn’t find links between increased sleep and less pain or arthritis, although they did find that improvement in sleep was associated with better physical functioning.
One limitation of the analysis is that the studies relied on participants to recall their own sleep patterns. Also, the studies didn’t all use the same tools to measure sleep quality and quantity.
Future studies should look at sleep patterns for different groups of people and how that affects health, Afolalu said. Her team is now analyzing data from the UK Household Longitudinal Survey to understand sleep, insomnia and health for people with arthritis.
Additional studies should also investigate how sleep deficiency leads to chronic pain disorders, said Dr Monika Haack, who studies sleep, pain and inflammation at Harvard Medical School’s Human Sleep and Inflammatory Systems Lab in Boston.
Haack, who wasn’t involved with the new research, said in an email, “It is also important to identify whether there is a specific sleep pattern that is most dangerous for pain.
For example, does sleep disruption (with frequent, intermittent awakening throughout the night) have a higher impact than a short but consolidated sleep?”
Haack and colleagues recently reported in the journal Pain that restricting sleep on weekdays and catching up on the weekends led to more pain.
Furthermore, people who caught up on weekends had a tougher time dealing with pain than those who slept eight hours every night.
“In those already suffering from chronic pain, it is of critical importance to incorporate sleep improvement strategies,” Haack said. “And to have sleep specialists as part of the pain management team.”
Officers respond to a collision involving two buses on Main Street in the Queens borough of New York on Sep 18, 2017.
NEW YORK: Three people were killed and at least 15 others were injured after a New York City transit bus and a tour bus collided early on Monday (Sep 18) in the city's borough of Queens, before slamming into a restaurant, fire officials said.
Passengers were pulled from the wreckage by firefighters after the city bus collided with a Dahlia charter bus shortly after 6am EDT (1000 GMT), according to Danny Glover, a spokesman for the New York City Fire Department.
One unidentified person was found dead at the scene and two others were pronounced dead at area hospitals, according to New York Police spokesman.
According to New York Times, citing authorities, one of the dead was a pedestrian, discovered trapped underneath one of the buses; one was a passenger on the city bus, and the third was the driver of the charter bus.
The remaining victims suffered injuries ranging from critical to minor. The cause of the collision was not immediately known.
The city bus had been making a right turn when it was struck by the other bus, according to spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Kevin Ortiz. The collision pushed the charter bus into a building wall.
Photos posted online by the fire department showed the two buses slammed into the corner of a Kennedy Fried Chicken restaurant in the Flushing section of Queens.
Officials said firefighters extinguished a small fire that began after the crash.