Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

WWI Centenary: the battle for Verdun

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

When big companies want to do good

Read more

REPORTERS

Halal tourism on the rise

Read more

FOCUS

Many Turks angry over Syrian refugee situation

Read more

ENCORE!

Shakespeare’s 450th Birthday : The Best of the Bard

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

The Tour de France, a PR machine

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Coverage of the third plane crash in one week - from France, Algeria and Burkina Faso

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Coverage of the plane crash that took 116 lives - almost half of them French

Read more

  • Live: ‘No survivors’ from Algerian plane crash, says Hollande

    Read more

  • In pictures: Debris and devastation at Air Algérie Flight AH5017 crash scene

    Read more

  • Paris bans new Gaza protest scheduled for Saturday

    Read more

  • French families grieve for Algerian plane crash victims

    Read more

  • Protest against Gaza offensive turns deadly in West Bank

    Read more

  • LA Times wipes France off the map in air crash infographic

    Read more

  • Tour de France fans bring the ambience to the Pyrenees

    Read more

  • Halal tourism on the rise

    Read more

  • French lawyer files complaint against Israel at ICC

    Read more

  • Ukraine names acting PM after Yatseniuk's shock resignation

    Read more

  • BNP to pay $80 million for defrauding Dept of Agriculture

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Wreckage of Algeria plane found in Mali

    Read more

  • Pope meets Christian woman sentenced to death in Sudan

    Read more

Asia-pacific

Two arsonists charged as deadly blazes rage on

Video by Florence VILLEMINOT

Latest update : 2009-02-09

A 31-year old man and a 15-year old boy have been charged with starting blazes as a separate search goes on to find arsonists suspected of causing the fires in Victoria that killed at least 108 people. High winds continue to spread the flames.

AFP - Two people have been charged with arson after wildfires raged through southeastern Australia at the weekend, killing at least 108 and destroying more than 700 homes, police said Monday.
   
A 31-year-old man accused of lighting a major blaze that burnt through about 200 hectares (495 acres) of bushland in Peats Ridge on the New South Wales central coast was due in court Monday after spending the night in a jail cell.
   
A 15-year-old boy who allegedly set off an explosive that started a small scrub fire in the Blue Mountains near Sydney on Sunday was released on bail after being charged and will appear in court next month.
   
Neither of those fires killed anybody, but police suspect that arsonists were also behind some of the major fires in neighbouring Victoria state, where all of the fatalities occurred.
   
Victoria state police commissioner Christine Nixon said all bushfire areas will be treated as crime scenes to determine if arson was involved.
   
"At this stage we have a team at the fire at Churchill, in the Gippsland Valley, which is certainly one that we believe was deliberately lit," Nixon said.
   
"Our fire experts and our own investigators have suggested that the way that it happened, how fast that it happened, that there is good evidence to believe that it was lit."
   
Forensic investigators have also begun work in the Kinglake area where hundreds of homes were destroyed.
   
"Wherever a death has occurred, we investigate that as a crime," Nixon told ABC radio.
   
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said Monday arsonists were guilty of mass murder.
   
"What do you say about anyone like that -- there are no words to describe it other than mass murder," Rudd said.
   
Arsonists, who are believed to have taken advantage of tinder-box conditions after a heatwave and high winds, could face life in jail if they are convicted on murder charges, police say.
   
The government's Australian Institute of Criminology released a report last week which said half of the nation's 20,000 to 30,000 bushfires each year are deliberate.

Date created : 2009-02-08

COMMENT(S)