March 02, 2007

LinkNews Digest [03/02/2007]

Casualties in Pakistani Kite Festival

What messed-up Frank Miller/Wacky Races world do these people live in?
At least 11 people died and more than 100 people were injured at an annual spring festival in eastern Pakistan celebrated with the flying of thousands of colourful kites, officials said today.

The deaths and injuries were caused by stray bullets, sharpened kite-strings, electrocution and people falling off rooftops yesterday at the conclusion of the two-day Basant festival, said Ruqia Bano, spokeswoman for emergency service in the city of Lahore.

The festival is regularly marred by casualties caused by sharp kite strings or celebratory gunshots fired into the air. Kite flyers often use strings made of wire or coated with ground glass to try to cross and cut a rival’s string or damage the other kite, often after betting on the outcome.

Police arrested more than 700 people for using sharpened kite strings or firing guns and seized 282 illegally held weapons during this year’s festival, said Aftab Cheema, a senior Lahore police officer.(LINK )

Teacher Cuts Off Boy's Tongue in Class

Milan - An Italian teacher has been suspended by her school in Milan after cutting off the tongue of a lively 7-year-old child with a pair of scissors, daily Corriere della Sera reported Tuesday.

The boy has since had his tongue stitched back but is afraid to go back to school. His parents say he suffers nightmares and runs away whenever he sees a knife. They are now suing the school for damages.

The incident took place a week ago but was only reported on Tuesday. According to Corriere, the 22-year-old substitute teacher threatened the child twice with a pair of scissors before actually chopping it off. 'Pull out your tongue. I'll cut it, and you'll no longer talk,' she was quoted as telling the child.

The teacher, who has only been identified by her initials R S, has since apologized, claiming it was an accident. (LINK )

Underwater Ice Hockey Takes Off

Divers from eight international teams from Austria, the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia took part in the maiden underwater ice hockey World Championship

About the game: The competition was scheduled under 30cm of ice in 2°C water, with the players dressed in wetsuits, flippers, masks, the peculiarity being the competitors plunging without the oxygen tanks.

The game was played with a Styrofoam puck around a "rink" six meters wide and eight meters long, following the ice hockey rules only to differ at the reduction in the playing time i.e. the game was made up of three periods, of 10 minutes each with a break of 10 minutes between periods.

Co-organizer of the Championship Hannes Thomasberger said, "The event was a huge success, 611 television stations from around the world will be broadcasting pictures."

The event is a challenge in itself requiring the players to be mentally and physically conditioned for the intensity of the sport, citing the initial success of the sport the organizing committee will think on the lines of conducting the event again during at least the next three years.

Finland won in the final beating Austria 7:4.(LINK )

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