Suspected kidnappers killed
Four suspected kidnappers were killed in a shootout with police yesterday, a police report said. The suspects were allegedly on their way to kidnap a child in the Manila suburban city of San Juan when they were intercepted by police. The police report said the kidnappers opened fire at police officers at a checkpoint in Valenzuela City, triggering the firefight.
Hackers may face jail time
Hackers could face up to seven years in jail according to a draft law, as the country moves to fight rampant computer data theft, state media said yesterday. Those who provide intruders with software or tools for stealing data or illegally manipulating computers would face similar penalties, the China Daily reported, citing the proposed amendment to the Criminal Law. Legislators on the standing committee of the National People’s Congress, or parliament, carried out the second reading of the draft on Monday, it said. If passed, the clauses will be the first legal tools to crack down on increasing data theft from non-official computers in China, the report said. The public security ministry first raised the request to make the amendment because of rampant stealing of account numbers and passwords, it said. More than 20,000 online gaming accounts with a market value of around 200,000 yuan (US$29,200) are stolen every day in Hunan Province alone, official figures show.
Korean War summit mulled
Seoul is considering hosting a summit in 2010 involving 21 nations that took part in the Korean War to mark the 60th anniversary of the start of the conflict, officials said yesterday. The Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs said it plans to invite leaders from the 21 nations as part of events to mark the anniversary. During the three-year war, which erupted in 1950 with a North Korean invasion, troops from 16 countries including Australia, Britain, Canada, France and the US fought for South Korea under a UN flag. Yonhap news agency said another proposal would include leaders from South Korea’s enemies during the war — North Korea, China and Russia.
Wolf seen near Great Wall
A wolf has been spotted near a popular tourist spot along the Great Wall of China, with officials rushing to catch it before it attacks anyone, state media said yesterday. The wolf was spotted last week near the Badaling section of the wall, a destination for hundreds of thousands of tourists every year, the Beijing News reported. It said experts had concluded beyond doubt that it was a wolf. It is rare for a wolf to appear in the area, which is only 50km northwest of Beijing.
Academics call for release
More than 150 academics and rights activists sent an open letter yesterday to Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) urging the release of a writer who helped draft a statement calling for greater freedoms in the country. Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波), a former university professor who spent 20 months in jail for joining the 1989 protests in Tiananmen Square, has not been heard from since being taken from his home by police on Dec. 8. The letter was signed by prominent Chinese academics, human rights advocates and writers from around the world, including Salman Rushdie, Nadine Gordimer, Wole Soyinka and the board of International PEN. It asked Hu to ensure the civil rights of citizens and stand by the “rule of law” that the leadership says governs China.