Tourists sites limit visitors
Top domestic tourist destinations are limiting the number of daily visitors over the week-long National Day holiday, when hundreds of millions of Chinese travel around the country, state media said yesterday. To protect the sites from being overrun by tourist hordes, the scenic Jiuzhaigou Valley in southwestern Sichuan Province was limiting daily admissions to 28,000 while the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet, would allow no more than 2,300 visitors a day, Xinhua news agency said. The National Day break, which runs from yesterday to Oct. 7 will see some 330 million people take to the roads.
New Hunan governor picked
The nation has confirmed the appointment of a new acting governor for Hunan Province who will help consolidate the power base of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) chief Hu Jintao (胡錦濤). The official Xinhua news agency said late on Saturday that the first secretary of the Communist Youth League, Zhou Qiang (周強), had been appointed acting governor of Hunan. China had accepted the resignation of Zhou Bohua (周伯華) as governor of the province, Xinhua said. Zhou Qiang, 46, is a political ally of Hu. Hu will preside over a meeting of the CCP's sixth plenary from Oct. 8 to Oct. 11.
`Soldier of fortune' released
Authorities have released from jail a US citizen imprisoned in 2004 for running a private jail and illegally detaining and torturing people in a freelance war on terror. Brent Bennett was initially sentenced to 10 years in prison after he and two other US citizens -- Jonathan Idema and Edward Caraballo -- were found guilty. An appeals court later cut their sentences. Bennett was released on Saturday after completing two years of his three-year sentence, a prison official said. "He was released from Pul-i-Charkhi prison and was flown out of the country," prison commander Abdul Qayoum said yesterday.
■ Hong Kong
Territory picks `The Banquet'
China has chosen the new Zhang Yimou (張藝謀) film Curse of the Golden Flower to represent the country in the Oscar best foreign film race next year, a news report said yesterday, while a Hong Kong industry official said the territory has picked the Feng Xiaogang (馮小剛) epic The Banquet. Curse, which revolves around ancient Chinese imperial politics, won a vote by a committee set up by China's Film Bureau, the Chinese news Web site Sina.com reported. Meanwhile, Federation of Motion Film Producers of Hong Kong chairman Crucindo Hung said an 11-member committee of the federation picked Feng's Banquet, a Chinese take on Hamlet, as the territory's entry.
■ Sri Lanka
Seven militants killed
Seven Tamil Tiger rebels were killed in clashes with the navy in two separate battles, the military said yesterday. Three rebels were killed Saturday evening on Kayts Island, west of the Jaffna peninsula, after sailors were deployed there, an official at the Media Center for National Security said on condition of anonymity, citing policy. The operation followed an attempted raid on Friday by a Tiger vessel that was destroyed trying to enter a naval base near the island, he said. Four guerrillas were killed in the sea battle and two bodies were recovered, the official said. The attempted infiltration prompted the navy to search Kayts on Saturday.
■ United States