Bo Yibo cremated
The remains of Bo Yibo (薄一波), the last of the "Eight Immortals" who launched the country's economic reforms and crushed the 1989 pro-democracy protests, were cremated yesterday at a ceremony attended by President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) and other senior officials. Bo, a veteran of the 1949 communist revolution, died on Monday at 98. Bo was the last survivor of the generation of leaders that included supreme leader Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平).
Seven jailed for explosion
A court has jailed seven people for an explosion at a hospital that killed 35 people after a cache of dynamite that was improperly stored in the building ignited, a news report said yesterday. The disaster, which occurred last April in the northern city of Yuanping, was the biggest in a recent series of deadly explosions blamed on improper storage of explosives by mines or the fireworks industry. The hospital administrator, who operated a private coal mine on the side, was accused of storing 3,700kg of dynamite and 10,000 detonators at the hospital and received a death sentence that was suspended for two years.
Military exchanges agreed
Japan and China are planning to increase their military exchanges as bilateral relations continue to warm, a report said yesterday. The expanded exchange program will see naval vessels making reciprocal visits to Chinese and Japanese ports. The port calls were agreed to in 2000, but the plan has been in diplomatic limbo since then due to the repeated visits by former Japanese prime minister Junichiro Koizumi to a Tokyo war shrine.
Quake rocks north Sulawesi
A strong earthquake shook the city of Manado yesterday evening but there were no immediate reports of casualties in the city of 400,000 people in northern Sulawesi island. "People panicked and ran out of their homes. They are still outside their homes," a witness said about 30 minutes after the quake struck in the Molucca Sea, 165 km east of Manado near the northern tip of Sulawesi. The US Geological Survey Web site put the quake's magnitude at 7.3 while Indonesia's meteorology and geophysics agency gave its strength as 6.5 on the Richter scale and initially said it could pose a tsunami risk. An agency official later said: "There is no report of significant damage so far."
Private eyes paid for sex
Local politicians paid private detectives thousands of dollars to have sex with prostitutes so they could use the evidence to shut down illegal brothels, reports said yesterday. Nick Ebbeck, mayor of suburban Ku-ring-gai Council, defended the practice, saying evidence was needed. "We have to employ private investigators to actually go through with the act and come up with reports that will suffice in a court process," Ebbeck told the Sunday Telegraph. "On numerous occasions over numerous days and times, they had to fulfil the act." Nine Sydney councils have spent AU$25,000 (US$19,730) over the past three years to fund the sexual forays, the paper said.
Curfew imposed in the east
Authorities imposed a curfew in an eastern town yesterday to prevent clashes that allegedly began with a group of communist rebels opening fire on a crowd killing one person earlier this week. Chirajivi Adhikari, a local administrator in Siraha District, said they were forced to impose a new curfew after Maoist rebels and local people clashed again yesterday. The curfew in Lahan, a town about 250km southeast of Katmandu, would continue until this morning, Adhikari said. The trouble in Lahan began on Friday when a group of rebels, traveling by bus through the town, were stopped by locals who were trying to enforce a general strike. The rebels objected and a fight broke out.