■ ChinaUighurs to stay in Cuba
The US should abandon reported plans to send Uighur detainees currently held at Guantanamo Bay to China, where they are likely to face mistreatment and possibly torture, a New York-based rights group said yesterday. More than a dozen ethnic Uighur separatists believed to be from China's westernmost Xinjiang region were apprehended in Afghanistan during the US-led war there and transferred to the US military detention facility in Cuba, Human Rights Watch said. They were reportedly training in Afghanistan with Uighur groups seeking independence or greater autonomy from China in the Xinjiang region.
Fireworks deaths increase
Fireworks-related deaths shot up nearly 25 percent in China in the first nine months of the year, with the government blaming local officials protecting unlicensed manufacturers often operating in the poor hinterland. The official Xinhua news agency said there had been 98 fireworks-related explosions across the country from January to September, up 21 percent from the same period last year. The blasts killed 209 people. Still, Xinhua quoted the deputy director of the State Administration of Production Safety, Sun Huashan, telling a forum that the government had brought the production of fireworks under strict control to curb accidents.
Condoms return to TV
Condoms have made a rare appearance on Chinese state television in an infomercial about the dangers of AIDS, state media reported yesterday. The 30-second ad, which was shown across the nation on Wednesday, was prepared to mark World AIDS Day on Dec. 1, the Beijing Morning Post said. It showed a young couple and played a female voice explaining the importance of protection and safety. A condom infomercial was aired on state television in late 1999, also to mark World AIDS Day, only to be pulled days later. Since then, hundreds of thousands more Chinese have contracted HIV.
Iraq report to finalize troops
A fact-finding mission returned from Iraq yesterday to brief Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on whether the situation there is stable enough for Japan to send troops to help with the US-led reconstruction effort. Koizumi's top spokesman said the government will decide whether to dispatch its military to Iraq based on the content of the mission's report, which media said was likely to advise that conditions were acceptable. "We will take the report into account and make a comprehensive decision," said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda. "If the situation allows, we will dispatch troops as soon as possible. Within the year, if feasible."
Child rescued from cell
A 10-year-old girl in southern China has been rescued after being locked up alone for four years in a dark cell built by her parents. The girl was discovered locked up in the 4m2 shed in Jiangmen, Guangdong province, with no windows and only a few holes for ventilation in its metal door. Her parents and older sister meanwhile lived comfortably in a nearby three-story house, according to the Hong Kong edition of the China Daily. The girl's parents, who run a liquor distillery, wanted a male heir and were disappointed when a second daughter was born, the newspaper said. The local Women's Federation is now considering taking legal action against the parents.
■ TurkeyTrio charged in bombings