9 dead as small plane slams into house in Philippines

Rescuers and investigators stand at the site where a twin-engined plane crashed into a house just after taking off in Plaridel town, Bulacan province, north of Manila on March 17, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 17 March 2018
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9 dead as small plane slams into house in Philippines

MANILA, Philippines: A small passenger plane carrying five people crashed into a house shortly after takeoff north of Manila on Saturday and killed all those onboard and four people on the ground, officials said.
The Piper-23 Apache plane took off from the airport in Plaridel town in Bulacan province then crash-landed Saturday for a still-unknown reason and smashed into a house, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines spokesman Eric Apolonio and police said.
All five Filipinos on board the six-seat plane were killed, and the crash killed four people on the ground, Plaridel police chief Supt. Julio Lizardo said by phone. The crash ignited a fire in a house that was hit by the aircraft, he said.
Two other people on the ground were injured by burning debris, Lizardo said.
TV footage showed parts of the plane wreckage and the shattered walls of the house at the still-smoldering crash site.
Rescuers were looking for at least 1 missing person in the rubble of the house.
Apolonio said the aircraft, which was operated by Lite Air Express, was bound for northern Laoag city. All the aircraft operated by the transport and courier company were grounded while investigators tried to determine the cause of the crash, he said.


Japan minister apologizes after ‘sexy yoga’ claims

Updated 5 min 12 sec ago
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Japan minister apologizes after ‘sexy yoga’ claims

TOKYO: Japan’s education minister apologized Wednesday for using an official car to visit a yoga studio, but denied claims that the facility was offering “sexy private yoga.”
The row is the latest headache for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government, which is already under fire after two cronyism scandals and sexual harassment claims against a top finance ministry bureaucrat.
The Shukan Bunshun weekly magazine on Wednesday reported that Education Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi visited a yoga studio in the hip Ebisu district in Tokyo using a state car and took private lessons there.
“I apologize for creating confusion amid a tense parliamentary situation,” Hayashi told reporters.
“As the government is facing severe rebuke and criticism, I will serve the public in a more disciplined manner,” he said, in an apparent reference to various scandals involving the cabinet in recent weeks.
“I should have drawn a line between the public and the private, even though this case was in line with rules,” he added.
Ministers are permitted to use government vehicles for private use in between public engagements, local media said.
The magazine described the yoga studio as a “sexy private yoga” studio run by a former porn actress that offers private lessons and oil massages.
But Hayashi said he was simply taking “regular yoga lessons and massages with finger pressure” for better health.
The president of the yoga studio has denied that she was ever a porn actress and is demanding a correction and an apology from the magazine.
“I firmly deny the article which presents an indecent image and is completely different from the facts,” she said.
The studio’s website says it offers private lessons for men or couples.
Support for Abe’s government has flagged due to two cronyism scandals and criticism of the way the finance ministry has handled claims that its top bureaucrat sexually harassed female reporters.
Around half of voters now disapprove of Abe’s administration, and a similar number want his Finance Minister Taro Aso to step down, polls published Monday found.
The polls bode ill for Abe’s bid to be reelected party chief in September in a vote he was once expected to win easily.