NEW DELHI — A poor government clerk from a desolate region of eastern India has become the first person ever to win $1 million on an Indian game show.
Sushil Kumar’s staggering win on the popular Indian version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” has transformed him into a role model for millions of aspiring youth yearning to escape from lives of poverty and find a role in India’s burgeoning economy.
Kumar’s win echoes the plot of the 2008 Oscar-winning film “Slumdog Millionaire,” whose impoverished protagonist won the grand prize on the show.
Kumar and his wife of five months wept when Indian movie legend Amitabh Bachchan, the show’s host, handed them a check for 50 million rupees (just over $1 million) after the contestant gave all the right answers on the show.
Slovenia police detain alleged botnet hacker
LJUBLJANA, Slovenia — Slovenian police say they have detained an alleged computer hacker believed to be responsible for a virus that infected 12 million computers worldwide.
The police say that the hacker, identified as Matjaz Skoranc from the northwestern town of Maribor, was detained early Thursday.
They say the detention is part of an ongoing investigation.
Skoranc was first detained in July 2010 in a joint action with the FBI and the Spanish authorities who had broken up the so-called Mariposa botnet — a scam to steal credit cards and online banking credentials.
The botnet — a network of infected computers — appeared in December 2008 and affected major banks and corporations around the world.
2 survivors hauled from Turkish quake rubble; death toll rises to 534
ERCIS, Turkey — Rescue workers in Ercis hauled two young men from the rubble of the wrecked eastern Turkish city on the fifth day after an earthquake devastated the region, national television reported.
Both young men, aged 18 and 19, were taken to hospital in a dehydrated condition.
Kurdish politician Leyla Zana criticized the government for its initial decision to decline foreign assistance, saying assistance to the region, where the population is largely Kurdish, could have been much quicker.
“If Turkey were a developed country, it would have accepted international aid, and the rescue work would have proceeded much more quickly,” Zana told dpa in the badly damaged village of Guvecli on Thursday.
She also criticized the Van provincial government of the area of failing to coordinate with the Kurdish BDP party.
The government’s crisis response center said the death toll from Sunday’s quake, which devastated Van province, had risen to 534.
It said 186 people had been rescued, but that hopes for further survivors were dwindling. An estimated 2,300 people are reported to have been injured.
Sleet falling over the region worsened the conditions faced by survivors, some of whom were still waiting for the authorities to provide tents or other shelter.
Floods inch closer to heart of Thailand’s capital
BANGKOK — Residents fled waterlogged homes on the outskirts of Thailand’s capital on Thursday as floods that have engulfed a third of the country inched closer to downtown areas. Foreign governments urged their citizens to avoid unessential travel to the threatened city.
Most of Bangkok remained dry and most of its more than 9 million residents were staying put to protect their homes. Still, uncertainty over the capital’s fate and the start of a government-declared five-day holiday fueled an exodus of people fearing the worst who clogged highways and air terminals to get out of town.
The floods, the heaviest in Thailand in more than half a century, have drenched a third of the country’s provinces, killed close to 400 people and displaced more than 110,000 others. For weeks, the water has crept down from the central plains, flowing south toward the Gulf of Thailand. Bangkok is in the way, and today it is literally surrounded by behemoth pools of water flowing around and through it via a complex network of canals and rivers.
By Thursday, flooding had inundated seven of Bangkok’s 50 districts, most on the northern outskirts.