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Tibetan monk dies after self-immolation

BEIJING | A Tibetan monk in western China set himself on fire in an anti-government protest, then was beaten and kicked by police, prompting hundreds of monks and others to rally, an exiled Tibetan monk said. A state news agency said the monk died Thursday.

The 21-year-old monk, Phuntsog, who like many Tibetans goes by only one name, set himself on fire Wednesday afternoon on a main street near the Kirti monastery in Aba county, in Sichuan province, said Kusho Tsering, a monk now living in Dharmsala, India.

The official Xinhua News Agency cited an unidentified county government spokesman as saying the monk died early Thursday, more than 10 hours after the self-immolation, because monks refused to let police take him to a hospital.

The exile’s account highlights simmering tensions in Tibet and Tibetan-inhabited regions in western China amid several anniversaries this month, including the March 10 anniversary of the unsuccessful revolt against China that caused the Dalai Lama to flee in 1959. Aba has for years been the scene of large protests involving hundreds of monks and citizens.


Bus rolls off bridge, kills 17

NEW DELHI | Police said a bus carrying Hindu pilgrims veered off a bridge and crashed onto the ground below in western India, killing at least 17 people.

Police official S.R. Rokhade said 29 were injured in the crash before dawn Thursday in Maharashtra state. The cause was being investigated.

The pilgrims were returning home after visiting a popular shrine of a Hindu saint.

The site of the crash, Malkapur, is about 160 miles northeast of Mumbai, India’s financial capital.

The World Health Organization said India has the highest annual road death toll in the world.

Police figures show more than 110,000 deaths occur annually on India’s roads. The majority are caused by speeding, bad roads, overcrowding and poor vehicle maintenance.

From wire dispatches and staff reports