`Free hugs' a flop
A "free hugs" campaign aimed at cheering up strangers by hugging them on the street seems to have failed, with some huggers being hauled away by police for questioning, media said on Monday. The campaign hit the streets of Beijing, Changsha and Xian this weekend, with participants opening their arms to embrace passers-by and brandishing cards saying "free hugs" and "care from strangers," the Beijing News said. In the capital, police took away four huggers briefly for questioning.
Lawyers demand protection
Shanghai's Bar Association called on the authorities yesterday to crack down on violence after a lawyer was beaten while making inquiries on a client's behalf. He Wei, 41, suffered a perforated eardrum and was held hostage for two hours in a dispute involving the owner and six employees of the Fuwei Printing company, the Shanghai Daily reported. He was inquiring into the case of his client, Zhang Xiufang, 17, who lost three fingers in a machinery accident but was denied compensation by the company.
Crackdown on downloads
A new round of a campaign has been launched to crack down on illegal downloads of films, music and software in efforts to curb rampant piracy, state media reported yesterday. The three-month campaign will target illegal Web sites and their operators, who have profited from providing platforms for Internet piracy, Beijing News quoted the National Administration of Copyright as saying. Authorities were currently investigating more than 300 cases, after collecting evidence from film and software industries in the US and at home, it said.
Train derails, worker killed
A railway worker was killed in the southeastern part of the country when a train carrying more than 1,000 passengers derailed, an official said yesterday. Five coaches of the train bound for the capital Dhaka derailed late on Monday after leaving the port city of Chittagong, said Shafiqul Khan, a railway spokesman. Minor train accidents are frequent in the country, which has a 2,800km network of track that was mostly laid between the 1860s and 1940s.
Rebel commander killed
Troops on Monday shot dead a top commander of Kashmir's dominant rebel group Hizbul Mujahedin, a defense spokesman said. The militant, a close associate of the group's leader Syed Salahuddin, was killed in a shoot-out in the disputed Himalayan region, he said. "A top commander of the Hizbul Mujahedin, Noor Mohammed alias Javed Burky, a former body guard of Syed Salahuddin, was killed in a gunfight in Doda District," 240km from Kashmir's winter capital of Jammu, the spokesman said.
Cyclone kills four
A cyclone off the coast of India's southern Andhra Pradesh state has weakened although heavy rains lashing the area have claimed four lives, officials said on Monday. The cyclone made landfall on Monday evening causing torrential downpours in coastal districts, said Satya Kumar, who heads Hyderabad's weather office. The authorities rescued 70 people stranded by floods, a government spokesman said. According to preliminary information, more than 750 houses were damaged by the storm, he said. Kumar said the had received heavy rains beginning late on Sunday and "more widespread rain or thundershowers were expected."
Pitt helps to build houses