Crackdown on drink diving
The police caught 15,000 people in the first week of a crackdown on drink driving, organized partly to appease anger over a series of fatal accidents, state media said yesterday. Drink-driving cases are concentrated in wealthy areas, with 3,075 reported in Zhejiang Province and 1,542 in Shanghai, Xinhua news agency said, citing the public security ministry. Despite the crackdown, there had been “no obvious drop” in drink-driving cases, the ministry said. China launched the two-month campaign on Aug. 15, hoping to ensure safer roads before and during the 60th anniversary of the communist state on Oct. 1, the agency said.
Alarm over drought
A drought in China’s north has damaged crops and left nearly 5 million people short of drinking water, while dry weather in the south could cause more shortages, Xinhua news agency reported yesterday. The drought has caused water shortages for 4.6 million people and 4.1 million head of livestock, it said, citing the national anti-drought administration. The affected areas stretch from Jilin Province in the northeast to Inner Mongolia — and the drought is spreading. Crops on some 8.7 million hectares of farmland have been damaged, the report said.
Protest over Liu Xiaobo
About two dozen Hong Kong democracy activists protested yesterday outside the Chinese government’s liaison office, demanding the release of a dissident ahead of the 60th anniversary of communist rule on Oct. 1. The protesters chanted “release Liu Xiaobo [劉曉波] now” and “release all dissidents.” The 53-year-old former professor was detained after co-authoring a manifesto urging civil rights and political reforms.
Bomb kills six in north
A bomb in the usually peaceful north killed six police, two days after a coordinated militant ambush disrupted voting during elections in the same province, the government said yesterday. The roadside bomb killed the commander of the Baghlan provincial rapid reaction police force and five other police in the area of Kook Chinar near Baghlan town on Saturday, the Interior Ministry said. On Thursday, suspected Taliban militants stormed Baghlan town, launching a multi-pronged assault that left up to 30 militants and two police dead, and stopped voting during the second presidential election.
Remote bomb kills militant
A remote-controlled bomb exploded in a car on Saturday, killing a militant spokesman and his driver while wounding five others in the northwestern city of Peshawar, police said. “Two people were killed and five others were injured in the car bombing,” Peshawar police chief Sifwatullah Ghayyur said. “The bomb was planted in the car and was detonated by a remote control,” he said, identifying the victims as Mubeen Afridi, spokesman for militant group Ansar-ul-Islam, which operates in Khyber tribal district near the Afghan border, and his driver.
Official calls for restraint
The government’s chief peace negotiator with Muslim separatist rebels yesterday urged the guerrillas and government security forces to practice “self restraint” and avoid armed clashes during Islam’s holy month of Ramadan. Rafael Seguis said he also hoped that the military, the police and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) would observe a ceasefire in the southern region of Mindanao to boost efforts to resume stalled peace talks.