Yang Jianli back in US
A Boston-based Chinese democracy campaigner has returned home after serving five years in a Chinese prison for stealing into the country and spying for Taiwan, a Web site and his brother said yesterday. Yang Jianli (楊建利), a permanent US resident with doctorates from Harvard and Berkeley universities was released from prison in April, but Chinese authorities refused to issue him a passport, grant him residency status or allow his Chinese-American wife to visit him in Beijing. The 44-year-old Yang flew from Beijing to San Francisco en route to Boston last Saturday accompanied by a diplomat from the US embassy in Beijing, his brother said. Yang stole into China in 2002 on a friend's Chinese passport.
Earthquake hits Mindanao
A strong 6.5-magnitude earthquake hit the southern Philippines yesterday, the US Geological Survey said. The quake's epicenter was reported to be 209km southeast of the town of Mati on Mindanao Island. Mylene Carols of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology said the quake was felt along the east coast of the island, but there were no reports of damage or injuries. "The quake's epicenter was out at sea and not on land," she said. "From our initial reports it was about 10km below the surface," she said, adding that no tsunami warning haD been issued. "There is only a small chance of a tsunami because we use magnitude seven and below as our cutoff point," the institute's Angelito Lunuza said. "Although we have not issued a tsunami warning, we have asked all our stations along the east coast to monitor any changes in sea levels just in case," he said.
Suicide bomber kills three
A suicide bomber killed three paramilitary soldiers and wounded 18 yesterday in the latest incident in a wave of violence in the northwest of the country, police said. "A bomber rammed an explosive-laden car into a Frontier Corps checkpost and killed three soldiers," said Mahmood Alam, a police officer in Thal town, 300km west of Islamabad, in North West Frontier Province, referring to a paramilitary force.
US sailor pleads guilty
A US sailor pleaded guilty yesterday to soliciting an Australian child for sex over the Internet in a police sting operation. David Wayne Budd, 28, was arrested at Sydney's airport in June after he held an online conversation with a police detective posing as a 14-year-old girl. The sailor, who lives with his wife and child in San Diego, California, had flown 1,200km south from Queensland state, where he was participating in joint US-Australian military exercises, to meet his fictitious victim. Appearing before the Parramatta Local Court yesterday, Budd pleaded guilty to using the Internet to groom a child for sex. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 12 years in prison.
Workers' Mandarin woes
About 70 percent of the country's estimated 200 million migrant workers have difficulty speaking Mandarin, though most are required to use it in their jobs, state media reported yesterday. Most prefer to speak in one of the country's numerous local dialects, and about 70 percent of them found it hard to speak Mandarin, the official Xinhua news agency said, citing a Ministry of Education report on the country's language situation last year. Less than 3 percent of the workers had access to language training, though 80 percent were required to speak Mandarin by their employers, Xinhua said.