Navy ship goes to Japan
A naval ship left yesterday for a port call to Japan for the first time since World War II in a further sign of easing in Sino-Japanese relations. The guided missile destroyer Shenzhen departed from its base in Zhanjiang and was scheduled to arrive in Japan next Wednesday for a four-day visit, Xinhua news agency reported. The port call is the first to Japan by the People's Liberation Army naval forces and is supposed to be reciprocated under plans agreed to by the countries' defense ministers in August. The ship's first stop will be Tokyo.
Jailed reporter wins award
Imprisoned journalist Li Changqing (李長青) has been awarded the World Association of Newspapers' annual press freedom prize, the Paris-based organization said on Tuesday. Li was sentenced last year to three years in prison for "spreading false and alarmist information." His arrest followed an investigation into a graft-busting bureaucrat that Li promoted in his writings who was later sentenced to life in prison on bribery charges. Supporters said the accusations against the official, Huang Jingao (黃金高), were trumped up. Prosecutors accused Li of leaking information about a dengue fever outbreak to an overseas Web site.
Navy rescues 16 from boat
The navy rescued 16 people, 10 of them children, from a boat sinking in rough water off the northwest coast, the defense department said yesterday. It was not immediately clear whether they were trying to seek asylum or where they were from. Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said they had set off in a wooden boat from Indonesia's Rote Island. Immigration officials were working to determine their identities and nationalities. Many asylum seekers set off from Indonesia in rickety boats bound for Australia. In 2001 the Norwegian vessel Tampa rescued 433 asylum seekers from a sinking Indonesian ferry and attempted to take them to Australia. Prime Minister John Howard refused to allow the ship to dock.
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Piglet found in toilet paper
A piglet nicknamed Andrex is recovering after being found in the back of a truck full of toilet paper at a supermarket. The animal, thought to be two or three weeks old, was discovered in a delivery at a Tesco store in Ilkeston, Derbyshire. Staff wrapped the piglet in a blanket and called the RSPCA, a Tesco spokesman said on Tuesday. He was taken to an animal shelter in Radcliffe-on-Trent, outside Nottingham, suffering from cuts and bruises to his snout.
Chirac under investigation
Judges have placed former French president Jacques Chirac under investigation for embezzlement of public funds during his time as mayor of Paris, his lawyer Jean Veil said yesterday. Chirac, who lost his immunity from prosecution after leaving office in May, has consistently denied any wrongdoing while he was mayor between 1977 and 1995. The case revolves around jobs allegedly handed out to sympathizers by Paris city hall.
Ian Smith dies at 88
Rhodesia's last prime minister Ian Smith, who has died aged 88, once insisted black rule would not come to pass in a thousand years. Four years later he was a citizen of Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe. It was a typically outspoken and ill-judged prediction by a man who turned his country into a global pariah but also won grudging admiration in some quarters for defying international isolation and sanctions for more than a decade. Smith spent his last days living with his daughter-in-law in Cape Town. Janet, his wife, died in 1994. Their only son Alec died last year.