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Rescuers 'hear trapped passengers calling for help'

Rescue workers have heard trapped passengers shouting for help from inside a capsized boat on the Yangtze River, according to Xinhua news agency.

Pictures beginning to emerge from the scene show rescue workers in orange vests standing on top of the sunken ship, which was carrying 458 people when it ran into trouble.

Rescue workers are seen standing on top of the sunken ship. Credit: Reuters

Rescue efforts continue with hundreds still missing

Rescue teams are continuing to work to save hundreds of people after a passenger ship sank following a cyclone in southern China.

Just 12 people have been saved so far, according to state media reports.

More than 450 people were on board the ship when it sank. Credit: Reuters
The Chinese Premier has rushed to the scene to coordinate the search and rescue mission. Credit: Reuters
Rescue workers carry a boat during the operation. Credit: Reuters

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Ship carrying over 450 sinks in China's Yangtze River

A passenger ship carrying more than 450 people has sunk in the Yangtze River in southern China, according to state media reports.

The ship ran into trouble in the Yangtze River in southern China on Monday night. Credit: Google Maps

Eight people have been rescued so far, including the ship's captain and engineer, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

Strong winds and heavy rain were hampering ongoing rescue efforts, Xinhua said.

The boat was travelling from Nanjing to the south-western city of Chongqing when it ran into trouble at around 9.30 pm local time on Monday.

At least 405 passengers and 47 crew members were reported to be on board at the time.

Beijing imposes toughest ban on indoor smoking

China has imposed its toughest ban on indoor smoking in Beijing in a major step to deal with a looming health crisis.

Performers send the no smoking message outside Beijing's national stadium Credit: Reuters

From today, smoking will be outlawed in all the capital's indoor public places, including offices, shopping malls and airports.

Beijing's main terminal will close its three smoking rooms and special smoking areas will be set up at the city's 600 bus stops.

Fines for violators have been raised to 200 yuan (£21), up from the 10 yuan (£1.05) charged under the former partial ban.

The World Health Organisation says 300 million Chinese smoke, including about half of all men, and 740 million Chinese are exposed to second-hand smoke.

The group says lung cancer kills more than 1.3 million people in the country each year, one-third of the world's total.

China destroys half a ton of smuggled ivory

Chinese authorities have publicly destroyed more than half a ton of smuggled ivory as part of a crackdown on the illegal trade.

A official with some of the ivory stockpile in Beijing Credit: PA

Wildlife officials in Beijing placed 660kg raw tusks and ornate carvings into a machine that crushed the pieces into tiny pebbles.

China bans smuggling of ivory but has an exemption which allows it to import legal stockpiles for traditional carvings that can be sold domestically.

Conservationists want China to impose a complete ban on the ivory trade Credit: PA

Conservationists argue that this legal trade has prompted a resurgent demand for ivory while providing a convenient cover for a thriving black market and have demanded China impose a complete ban on the trade.

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