Zhao memorial to be held
China will hold a memorial for ousted Communist Party leader Zhao Ziyang (趙紫陽) at its main cemetery for revolutionary heroes but it hasn't been decided whether he will be buried there, a relative said yesterday. The issue of official mourning for Zhao -- ousted in 1989 after sympathizing with pro-democracy protesters -- is sensitive for the government, which does not want to incite sympathy for a figure accused of endangering communist rule. Zhao, 85, died Monday after spending his last 15 years under house arrest. The government issued only a brief death notice and there has been no official announcement of funeral plans. Zhao's family has accepted a government offer to hold a ceremony at Beijing's Babaoshan cemetery but no date has been set.
Nepalese security forces battling Maoist insurgents are killing, abducting and torturing civilians, a human rights group said yesterday. More than 10,000 people have been killed since the Maoist insurgency began in 1996 and at least 1,000 have disappeared, but these were only reported cases and the tip of the iceberg, the Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission said. It urged the international community to stop what it called a the reign of terror. "What happens to those people who disappear?" Ali Salem, project coordinator at the commission, said at a news conference in Hong Kong. "When people are arrested, they are so badly tortured, they either die in custody or get killed during the encounters. Maoists do the same thing," he said.
Separate attacks occur
A suicide bomber blew himself up outside a mosque in northern Afghanistan yesterday wounding two people. "This is the work of terrorists," said Faizullah Zaki. He said the suicide bomber approached worshippers as they left the mosque in Shibergan. Also in Afghanistan, suspected Taliban rebels opened fire on a fuel truck heading to the main US base in the south late Wednesday, killing the Pakistani driver and wounding his two assistants, an official said. All of the attackers fled.
School attacker executed
A 21-year-old man who broke into a high school dormitory and stabbed nine Chinese boys to death has been executed, the government announced yesterday. Yan Yanming was put to death on Tuesday in Henan Province, where he was convicted of attacking the boys on Nov. 25 in the city of Ruzhou. Yan's mother turned him in to police after he attempted suicide on the day following the attack. Xinhua said Yan confessed, saying he acted out of hatred. The trial and execution were unusually swift for Chinese courts, and might have been expedited in an effort to reassure the public amid a series of such knife attacks at schools, which have left one child dead and 42 people injured.
■ Hong Kong
High heels deforming feet
High-heeled shoes are to blame for 75,000 cases of deformed feet among women in fashion-conscious Hong Kong, a news report said. Orthopaedic surgeon Daniel Wu said half of the existing 150,000 cases of foot deformities in the territory were due to ill-fitting women's shoes. Putting fashion ahead of comfort puts added pressure on feet and leads to bunions, a condition women are 10 times more likely than men to develop, Wu said.
A Swedish millionaire and heir to one of the Scandinavian country's leading home electronics companies, Siba, appears to have been kidnapped, police said. Siba general director Fabian Bengtsson, 32, was "probably" kidnapped on his way to work in the southern Swedish city of Gothenburg. "A nationwide alert has gone out," police said, adding that Interpol had also been contacted. After Bengtsson, who left home at 7:45am, failed to turn up at work, his father Bengt Bengtsson, who is chief executive of family-owned Siba, received a text message at 10:37am on his mobile phone from him indicating that "he was not staying away of his own free will," police said. Since then Bengtsson's phone has been switched off.