Japan to pay police salaries
Japan will pay the salaries of 80,000 Afghanistan police officers for six months as part of its continuing financial support for the country, a government official said yesterday. Tokyo will also fund the building of 200 schools and 100 hospitals, and train thousands of teachers in Afghanistan, Foreign Ministry official Miyako Watanabe said. The projects will be paid out of the US$520 million remaining in the funds pledged by Tokyo to help rebuild the country’s infrastructure.
Official sacked over jaunt
A Chinese Communist Party official has been sacked for leading a delegation on a jaunt to Egypt and Dubai, where the group splurged on diamonds and stayed at top hotels, state media said yesterday. An Internet blogger initially exposed Tan Rigui (譚日貴), the deputy party secretary of a district in Guangdong Province, by posting a video online showing some of his government-funded “work trip,” the China Daily said. A government investigation then found that Tan led 13 officials from his Duanzhou district to Egypt on the two-week trip early in 2007, the paper said. The trip ended with a stay at the ultra-luxurious Burj Al-Arab in Dubai, which bills itself as the world’s only seven-star hotel, according to the paper.
Shark victim gets hand back
Sydney surgeons said yesterday it was a miracle that Bondi Beach shark attack victim Glenn Orgias has two hands rather than just one. “I thought the hopes for the hand were close to zero, but I have hope in time that Glenn will have a working hand,” plastic surgeon Kevin Ho said. “We’re far from out of the woods, but I think for him to make it to this stage is a minor miracle.” Orgias, 33, was mauled by a 2.5m great white shark while surfing two weeks ago. His bicep was ripped open and his hand was left hanging by 4cm strip of skin.
Taxi drivers block traffic
Taxi drivers angry about unfair competition from unlicensed cabs staged a strike in Fujian Province on Monday. About 100 drivers in the city of Zhangzhou marched to the municipal government on Monday morning, Xinhua News Agency said. In the afternoon, they gathered on an overpass and blocked traffic for two hours. “The rampant spread of unlicensed cabs has greatly affected our business. I can only earn 40 yuan [US$5.80] a day,” Xinhua quoted an unnamed cab driver as saying. About 800 licensed cabs work in Zhangzhou, but they are believed to be greatly outnumbered by unlicensed taxis, Xinhua said.
Blast kills nine: official
A bomb attack killed nine security guards and injured three in northern Algeria near a power facility, officials and the local media said on Monday. The security agents were working for the facility operated by the national electricity provider, Sonelgaz, near Ziama Mansouriah in the north, two local town officials said. The bombing occurred at their housing compound. El Watan daily said the bombing late on Sunday was preceded by mortar fire on the security agents’ housing compound, but the officials could not confirm this. Algerian authorities made no immediate comment on the attack, the second against security agents from the Spas security company in recent years.
Plea made to Myanmar
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday urged the Myanmar junta to free all political prisoners, including Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. “I wish to reiterate my call for the release of all political prisoners, including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and the resumption of dialogue between the government and the opposition without delay and without preconditions,” Ban said. “I welcome the announcement of the amnesty as a first step toward a larger and bigger implementation,” he said, but cautioned “there are still hundreds and hundreds of detainees” held for “political reasons.” Myanmar announced last Friday that it would release more than 6,300 prisoners to allow them to participate in elections next year. The opposition said 17 of them were political prisoners.