NEWS OF THE DAY
Nigeria explosion: An overturned oil tanker exploded while dozens of people were scooping up the leaking fuel and many were killed, police and witnesses said Saturday. “We have recovered 12 corpses and taken 22 persons with serious burns to hospital,” said police spokeswoman Irene Ugbo. But some residents put the death toll at closer to 60. The blast occurred Friday evening in Odukpani in Cross River state in southeast Nigeria. It was not immediately clear what caused the truck to overturn. Hundreds of people have died in similar accidents in recent years in Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer, as impoverished people risk their lives to collect fuel leaking from pipelines or trucks.
Egypt crackdown: Security forces killed six Islamic militants in a raid Saturday on their desert hideout south of the capital of Cairo, the interior ministry said. The militants were hiding in an area between the southern provinces of Sohag and Assiut. Egypt has been battling Islamic militants for years. An all-out military campaign to quash their insurgency in the north of the Sinai Peninsula began nearly a year ago with the government throwing into battle tens of thousands of troops.
Canada crash: A bus smashed into a transit shelter Friday in Ottawa, killing three people and injuring 23 others. Police Chief Charles Bordeleau said the bus driver was arrested after the crash, but he declined to provide details on why she was detained. He said police were still investigating the cause of the crash. The crash took place west of downtown, just as dusk was beginning to settle on the coldest day of the winter so far in Canada’s capital. Two of the dead were riding the bus, and one was on the platform at Westboro station, Mayor Jim Watson said.
Afghanistan attack: At least five security forces were killed Saturday when their checkpoint came under attack by insurgents in southern Kandahar province. Aziz Ahmad Azizi, the provincial governor’s spokesman, said two other police officers were wounded in the attack in Spin Bolduk district. He said seven Taliban insurgents were killed and six others were wounded in the fighting. Qari Yusouf Ahmadi, a Taliban spokesman, claimed responsibility for the assault. Taliban insurgents have been carrying out near-daily attacks targeting Afghan forces. The violence comes despite steppedup efforts by the United States to find a negotiated end to the country’s 17-year war.
Argentina quarantine: A judge has ordered 85 residents of a remote Patagonian town to remain in their homes for at least 30 days to help halt an outbreak of hantavirus in which nine people have died. The order affects residents of Epuyen who have been in contact with people who tested positive for the virus. Some in the town of 3,000 had resisted calls for voluntary isolation. Town officials also have suspended gatherings in municipal facilities, including funerals. At least 26 people in the region have fallen ill from hantavirus since early December. People can become infected through contact with infected rodents or their urine and droppings, or by close contact with an infected person. Argentina has reported 111 deaths from the virus since 2013.
Malaysia king: The central Malaysian state of Pahang’s soon-to-be new sultan is tipped to become the country’s next king under a unique rotating monarchy system. The Conference of Rulers has said it will pick a new king among nine hereditary state rulers on Jan. 24 after the sudden abdication of Sultan Muhammad V after just two years on the throne. No reasons were given for the Jan. 6 abdication, the first in the nation’s history, which came after the 49-year-old reportedly married a former Russian beauty queen. Pahang’s 88-year-old Sultan Ahmad Shah is next in line to be king, but he is gravely ill. Tengku Abdullah, currently the regent of Pahang, will succeed Sultan Ahmad Shah on Tuesday, the Pahang palace announced Saturday. Royal family members have reportedly agreed that Tengku Abdullah, 59, will ascend the state throne. Nine ethnic Malay state rulers take turns serving as Malaysia’s king for five-year terms.