2 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, February 19, 2003
124 die in Korean subway arson NEWS IN BRIEF l
Suspect accused of
setting the blaze has
history of mental illness
DAEGU, South Korea (AP) - Kim
Ho-keun, a 68-year-old grandfather,
was about to get off the crowded sub-
way when an explosion knocked him
to the floor. He awoke in darkness
minutes later, gasping for breath and
desperate to escape a fiery attack that
killed at least 124 people on yesterday.
Struggling to call for help, Kim
feared the worst until he heard a rescue
"I couldn't see him, but I saw his
flashlight, so I grabbed his hand,"
Kim said from his hospital bed, tubes
supplying him with oxygen. "It was
then that I thought to myself: I'm
going to live."
Kim was one of the fortunate in
Daegu, South Korea's third-largest city.
The fire started about 10 a.m. when
a man lit a container of flammable liq-
uid and tossed it. The blaze incinerated
two six-car subway trains, killed at
least 124 people and injured 145, one-
third of them seriously.
Today, authorities said about 300
people were also reported missing but
added that the number was greatly
inflated. "That doesn't mean that all of
them were killed yesterday," said disas-
ter official Koo Bon-kun. "People just
report their family members who did
not return home."
Also today, forensic experts gath-
ered scorched human remains for iden-
tification as rescuers returned for one
last effort to search for the missing.
"People could have hidden to escape
the smoke, last night we did a final
search but we have found nothing,"
Daegu Mayor Cho Hae-nyoung told
A suspect who police say has a histo-
ry of mental illness was under interroga-
tion. Police said they did not know what
motivated the attack or what substance
the attacker used to start the blaze.
The fire began in one train at a sta-
tion, igniting seats and spreading to
another train as it pulled in, officials
said. More people died in the second
train because many of the doors failed
to open, trapping passengers.
YTN TV news channel reported the
second train arrived four minutes after
the fire started. It was not clear why
the second train was not warned of the
fire or diverted from the station.
Many bodies were burned beyond
recognition. Officials said they would
have to wait for DNA tests to confirm
the number of dead, which could take
Other people died of asphyxiation
on the train platform. One man said his
missing daughter called by mobile
phone to say there was a fire and the
subway door wasn't opening.
Firefighters gave horrifying
accounts of the scene underground.
Many bodies were found on the sub-
way stairs, where people apparently
suffocated as they tried to escape. On
the platform and in the trains were the
ashen bones of those trapped in the
Chung Sook-jae, 54, rushed to the
scene after her daughter, 26-year-old
Min Shim-eun, telephoned her hus-
band to say she was choking. Then the
line went dead.
"She never caused any problems.
She was a good kid. Why does this
have to happen to her?" Chung cried.
"If she's not out by now, she's probably
dead. What am I going to do if her
body is all burned out of recognition?"
Officials said that the fire was put
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out by 1 p.m., about three hours after it
started, but toxic gas from the fire
delayed rescue efforts, according to the
Yonhap news agency. The acrid odor of
burned plastic wafted over the scene
hours after the flames were extin-
Police were interrogating Kim Dae-
han, 56, who witnesses said carried the
carton into the subway car, police Lt.
Kim Byong-hak said. Another official,
speaking on condition of anonymity,
said the suspect had been treated for
mental illness in the past.
Authorities and witnesses said the
attacker took out the carton and tried
to light it with a cigarette lighter. Pas-
sengers moved to stop him and a scuf-
fle broke out. He finally lit the box,
and it exploded into flames.
YTN aired footage of the frantic
scene inside a hospital, showing nurses
attending to a man who reportedly was
the suspect. The man sat frowning on a
bed wearing a hospital smock, his face
and hands smudged with soot.
Police Sgt. Yu Heung-soo said Kim
had been burned on both legs and the
right wrist. But a doctor told YTN that
the man's only injury was from smoke
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - U.N.
weapons inspectors visited five sites
involved in the production of a banned
missile yesterday as rockets became a
new flashpoint in the Iraq crisis.
The United Nations is deciding
whether to insist that Iraq modify the
missiles or destroy them - a demand
Saddam Hussein would likely find
hard to meet.
Iraq's foreign minister, Naji Sabri,
was asked yesterday night what Iraq
would do if told to destroy the missiles.
He refused to answer, saying the ques-
tion was too hypothetical.
The U.N. inspectors said yesterday
they have put identification tags on
components of dozens of Al Samoud 2
missiles, but wouldn't say how many
more remain to be inventoried. It
remained unclear what they will do
with the missiles they find.
"We are waiting for further instruc-
tion from New York," said a spokesman
for the inspection teams in Bagdad,
U.N. officials have banned the
missiles because they have been
tested at ranges greater than the 94-
mile limit imposed on Iraq by U.N.
resolutions adopted at the end of the
1991 Gulf War.
Giving up the Al Samoud 2 would
mean sacrificing an important part of
Iraq's defenses just as tens of thou-
sands of U.S. and British troops mass
on its southern border. But refusing to
do so could give Iraq's enemies argu-
ments to launch a war.
During a visit to Baghdad in Janu-
ary, chief inspector Hans Blix said the
Iraqis suggested that when they fitted
guidance and control systems and
other devices to the missiles, they
would be weighed down and fly within
the legal distance.
Continued from Page 1
possible war. But he said it was up to
the Security Council to decide if the
inspections had gone on long enough.
France, with support from Russia
and China, does not accept the U.S.
view that the Security Council effec-
tively endorsed force as an option to
disarm Iraq in an earlier resolution that
warned of "serious consequences" if
Saddam persisted in defying U.N.
With some 50 countries lined up to
speak to the council in a session that
could go over until today, early action
by the United States and its close ally,
Britain, was not expected.
Diplomats at the U.N. said a draft
resolution could be circulated later
As for the protests around the
world by millions of people opposed
to war with Iraq, Bush said they
were irrelevant to his duty to protect
"Size of protest, it's like deciding,
'Well I'm going to decide policy
based up on a focus group.' The role
of a leader is to decide policy based
upon the security - in this case -
security of the people," he said.
"Democracy is a beautiful thing,
and that people are allowed to
.rnro.c thair nnininn " ha unid
East Coast recovers
from winter storm
The Northeast struggled to dig out
yesterday from a paralyzing storm that
unloaded up to 4 feet of snow, busted
city snow-removal budgets and strand-
ed thousands of people at airports up
and down the East Coast.
The storm, blamed for 37 deaths,
finally headed out to sea after taking a
parting shot at Boston, which got an
all-time record of 27.5 inches by the
time the snow stopped falling yesterday
morning. Homeowners and motorists
dug out their cars and doorways and
toiled to reopen driveways that had
been sealed shut by passing snowplows.
"What can you do?" said 38-year-old
Brian Shipley of Rockville, Md., stand-
ing waist-deep in the mini-canyon he had
shoveled in the path to his door. "You dig
out and you get ready for tomorrow"
A few blocks away, acupuncturist
Cindy Clark foresaw a lot of sore backs.
"There's going to be more work than I
can handle for a long time," she said.
Bush turns to faith
in difficult times
President Bush, often portrayed as
using a strict good-and-evil compass to
navigate national issues, has always
peppered his speeches with exhorta-
tions to moral and civic duty. With war,
tragedy and terrorism confronting him
now, his allusions to spirituality and
morality seem to be increasing.
"I welcome faith to help solve the
HEADLINES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Israelis kill 11 in West Bank incursion
Backed by helicopter gunfire, dozens of Israeli tanks rolled into Gaza City late
yesterday, setting off clashes that left 11 Palestinians dead and 20 wounded, Pales-
tinian hospital officials said.
The incursion, the second in Gaza in as many days, led to the highest death toll
in an Israeli operation since Jan. 26, when 12 Palestinians were killed in another
part of Gaza City.
The Israeli action was part of a crackdown after the militant Islamic group
Hamas blew up a tank over the weekend, killing four soldiers. Hamas claimed
today that once again, it destroyed a tank, this time with a suicide bomber.
The Israeli military said it knew nothing about an attack on its tank and would
only say that the incursion was limited in nature, not an invasion of Gaza.
The violence followed an Israeli decision to lift a quarantine on the West Bank and
Gaza that had idled thousands of Palestinians who work in Israel, as Palestinian offi-
cials appealed for huge amounts of aid to rescue their conflict-battered economy.
Witnesses said about 40 Israeli tanks converged on the Shajaiyeh neighborhood
from three directions residents said, and several tanks also surrounded a Hamas
elementary school in the nearby Tufah section. Soldiers blew up a metal work-
shop, one of the largest in the city, Palestinians said. Israel charges that Palestini-
ans use such workshops to produce weapons.
Club owner faces charges after stampede
A day after 21 people were killed in a nightclub stampede, Chicago officials asked
a judge yesterday to jail the owner for at least a year for allegedly operating the place
in defiance of a shutdown order.
The city asked Cook County Circuit Judge Daniel Lynch to impose the criminal
contempt of court sentence on Dwain Kyles, saying he ignored the judge's previ-
ous order to shut down because of building code violations that included failing to
provide enough exits.
"You don't have a right to disobey a court order until someone catches you or
until a disaster happens," Mayor Richard Daley said.
The owners of the E2 nightclub contended they had a deal to stay open, despite
the building code violations. The city sought immediate action on its petition to
hold Kyles in criminal contempt, but Lynch told city attorneys that Kyles had not
yet been served with the papers. The judge also said he would give the two com-
panies 10 days to answer. The city also asked the judge to fine Kyles and his com-
pany, Le Mirage Inc., which owned the nightclub, and to fine a second company,
Lesly Motors Inc., which owns the building.
nation's deepest problems," Bush told
a conventionof religioustbroadcasters
last week. Referring to the Sept. 11
terrorist attacks, he said, "We carried
our grief to the Lord Almighty in
Earlier, in his State of the Union
address, he said, "The liberty we prize
is not America's gift to the world, it is
God's gift to humanity."
Hours after the shuttle Columbia dis-
integrated, Bush turned to religion and
a quote from the book of Isaiah to help
console the nation.
lands Canseco in jail
Jose Canseco was sent to jail yesterday
#after violating his probation for a 2001
nightclub brawl. The former major
league slugger could be held until a
scheduled March 17 hearing, Judge
Leonard Glick ruled.
"I understand that I have to take
responsibility," Canseco said. "I ask
for the mercy and understanding of
the court." Shortly after, Glick
ordered Canseco into custody. "No
bond," Glick said.
Wearing a dark double-breasted suit,
the 38-year-old Canseco handed his wal-
let and a thick silver necklace to his
lawyer before being led out of the court-
room, his hands cuffed behind his back.
Glick issued a warrant for Canseco's
arrest Friday after being told the six-time
All-Star had failed to begin anger control
classes and community service, and had
left Florida for longer than 30 days.
- Compiled from Daily wire reports.
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