Former executive sentenced
A former senior executive at the country’s No. 3 state-owned coal producer has been sentenced to life imprisonment for accepting bribes, Xinhua news agency said yesterday. Zhao Shenglong (趙生龍), a former vice president at the Datong Coal Mine Group, was found to have taken two bribes totaling more than 8.29 million yuan (US$1.3 million) between 2000 and 2005, Xinhua said. Datong is the parent of Shanghai-listed Datong Coal Industry Co. The company was not immediately available for comment.
Rally held over plant
Protesters rallied yesterday against plans to open a rare-earth processing plant in an eastern resort town saying they fear it will harm the environment. Thousands attended the sunrise gathering at a seaside park in Kuantan to oppose plans by Australian mining company Lynas to open the plant near the town in eastern Pahang state, activist Tan Bun Teet said. Activists and residents have long campaigned against the development, which is under construction, amid fears over the disposal of radioactive waste from the process. “We deserve a healthy environment for our future generations. The government can’t just build anything in the name of development,” said Tan, who chairs a local group that campaigns against Lynas. He said the gathering was also protesting against other issues, such as land being taken from native tribes and toxic cyanide being used in gold mining. A district police official confirmed a “small group” gathered for several hours before peacefully dispersing. Lynas has insisted the plant, which would be one of the few sources of rare earths outside China, poses no safety threats and any waste would be placed in reliable storage cells to avoid leaks.
Tibetan exiles hold protest
Police have detained more than a dozen Tibetan exiles demonstrating outside the Chinese embassy in New Delhi. The Tibetan Youth Congress said yesterday’s demonstration was organized as a show of solidarity following recent self--immolation protests by Tibetans against the Chinese government. The protesters waved red and blue Tibetan flags and chanted “Free Tibet” and “We want freedom.” They were blocked by New Delhi police as they rushed toward the Chinese embassy. Police officer M.P. Saini said 13 protesters were detained for violating a law prohibiting more than four people from gathering in the area around the embassy. Five Tibetans have set themselves on fire in China’s Sichuan Province in the past two weeks.
Ceiling collapse kills 12
At least 12 workers who were building an underground parking lot in the northeast were killed when a concrete ceiling collapsed onto them, local authorities and state media said yesterday. The fallen ceiling buried 17 workers in the port city of Dalian on Saturday. Four of these managed to get out and were rushed to hospital, and their injuries were not life-threatening, Xinhua news agency said. One other person remains missing, it added. The cause of the accident is currently being investigated, the report said, without providing further details. An employee at the Dalian work safety bureau confirmed the accident, but refused to provide details. Local police refused to comment and the government was not immediately available for comment.
Turbofolk banned on buses
Deluged with complaints, Skopje has told bus drivers to turn off the thumping beats and folk melodies of Balkan turbofolk and commissioned some musical alternatives. The mesmerizing turbofolk music genre is a favorite of bored bus drivers throughout the Balkans, who blare it out from the cab of their buses. However, authorities in Skopje say it has begun to grate with passengers. The city’s public transport company, JSP, said on Friday that drivers of 67 new double-decker buses had been instructed to drop the turbofolk in an experiment that could see its cheeky kitsch style banished from public transport across the capital. Instead, passengers will be offered classical music in the mornings, foreign and domestic pop during the day, easy-listening in the early evening and techno at night to please the younger crowd, he said. The double-deckers were introduced last month as part of a radical overhaul of the battered capital.
Assange, Khan lead rally
WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange and socialite Jemima Khan led a protest in London on Saturday against the war in Afghanistan, 10 years after the US and Britain went to war against the Taliban. Organizers of the Stop The War Coalition said 5,000 people attended the protest in central London’s historic Trafalgar Square. London’s Metropolitan Police did not give a figure. “There comes a moment when you have to ask what is more dangerous, terrorism or counterterrorism,” Khan, the former wife of Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, told the crowd. “Afghanistan is still the worst place in the world for women to live ... So by any standards, our mission in Afghanistan has failed.” Assange, who is currently under strict bail conditions as he fights extradition from Britain to Sweden on charges of rape, compared journalists and soldiers to war criminals.
Journalists given awards
Correspondent Sara Hussein was among the winners at the annual Bayeux-Calvados award for war correspondents’ announced on Saturday in Rennes. Hussein won the young reporter’s award for her coverage of the Libyan conflict. In the written press category, Jon Stephenson of Metro magazine won for his reports out of Afghanistan, while Yuri Kozyrev of Noor Images took the photography prize for his work in Libya. Etienne Monin of France Info won in the radio category for his reports alongside Libyan fighters during some of the major battles in the conflict. Alex Crawford of Sky News took in the television category for her coverage of the Libyan conflict.
Military amends election law
The ruling military on Saturday imposed jail terms for bribery and religious sloganeering in an upcoming parliamentary poll and allowed parties to contest all parliament’s seats after a boycott threat. The military decree to amend the election law that reserved a third of seats for independents in the Nov. 28 election is a concession to the parties. The parties, which threatened an election boycott if the military left the law intact, also insist on preventing corrupt politicians from running for office for a decade. In previous elections, before the uprising that ousted former president Hosni Mubarak in February, the now dissolved ruling party resorted to bribes and hiring thugs to influence the results, election monitors said.
Memo authorizes killing
President Barack Obama’s administration crafted a legal document in secret ahead of the assassination of US-born al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaqi, which permitted the killing of a US citizen without trial, a report said on Saturday. The secret memorandum was written last year to justify the action despite a legal framework that prevents the White House ordering assassinations, a US federal law against murder and protections for US citizens contained in the Bill of Rights, said the New York Times, citing sources familiar with the memo. However, according to the Times, the memo was crafted specifically for al-Awlaqi, so does not set a precedent for killing any American that authorities suspect of posing a terrorist threat. The 50-page document, completed in June last year, said the killing could only be lawful if it was not feasible for al-Awlaqi to be captured alive. Al-Awlaqi was killed in a drone strike in Yemen late last month.
California bans shark fins
California Governor Jerry Brown announced on Friday that he had signed a bill banning the sale, trade and possession of shark fins to protect the world’s dwindling shark population. Brown signed the bill over objections that the fins are used in a soup considered a delicacy in some Asian cultures. Environmental and animal rights activists hailed the ban for closing off Pacific ports in the US to the shark fin trade. California joins Hawaii, Washington, Oregon and Guam in the ban. The bill had split the Asian delegation in the California Legislature. Assemblyman Paul Fong, who authored the bill, said it was needed to protect endangered shark species, but others called the measure racist because the fins are used in a soup popular among many Asians. The California market for shark fin soup is the largest outside Asia.
Jova becomes hurricane
Storm system Jova has become the ninth hurricane of the eastern Pacific Ocean season, as US meteorologists said yesterday that while it posed no immediate threat, it could soon affect interests along the southwestern coast. The category one Hurricane Jova was packing maximum sustained winds of up to 120kph, said the Miami-based National Hurricane Center. Authorities warned of landslides from heavy rain generated by the hurricane of the season, affecting five coastal states along the west coast. The storm was veering steadily toward the central Pacific coastline, where it could make landfall by tomorrow, meteorologists said. Jova was expected to strengthen in the coming days as it moved eastward.
Bodies found in Veracruz
Ten more bodies have been found in the Gulf of Mexico coastal city of Veracruz, just a week after authorities found 32 cadavers stashed in two homes, authorities said on Saturday. “The bodies of seven people” were located late on Friday stacked in the back of a pickup truck, a state government communique said. Hours later, it said, three more bodies were found tossed in the street of a nearby neighborhood. Veracruz has been thrust into the spotlight in just a matter of weeks as yet another city gripped by the bloodshed of the drug cartel wars. On Thursday, 32 bodies were found in two homes in the Boca del Rio neighborhood. That staggering find came two weeks after 35 bodies were found Sept. 20 on a busy public underpass in the city. Authorities on Friday detained eight members of the “Zeta Killers” blamed for at least 67 killings in Veracruz.
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
They stand as eyesores to most passers-by and potential public health risks to authorities, decaying buildings wrapped in tangles of exposed wire, studded with protruding leaky plastic pipes, vegetation billowing from cracks and terraces where particulates from polluted air have accumulated over time. With skyscrapers and ultramodern developments on every side, some of these “nail houses” are also sitting on land worth millions of dollars in Shenzhen’s inferno of a property market, where new-unit and second-hand home prices rival London. In battles over land and development, the nail house phenomenon has become widespread throughout China over the past two decades, with owners
An Italian alpine resort on Friday remained on high alert over fears that a vast chunk of a glacier on the slopes of the Mont Blanc massif could plummet in high temperatures. “No one gets through! No cars, bikes or pedestrians,” was the message at a checkpoint where an automatic barrier and two guards blocked the small road snaking up into a lush valley below the Planpincieux glacier, near the town of Courmayeur and the Italian-French border. The blockade has largely been greeted with contempt by the locals, one of whom said: “It’s a joke.” The huge ice block measuring around 500,000 cubic
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong (FCC) yesterday said that reporters in the territory were experiencing “highly unusual” visas problems, and called on the US and China to stop using the media as a political weapon. Journalists have been caught up in US-China tensions, with both sides placing limits or expelling reporters from their territories in the past few months. Now the spat is filtering into Hong Kong, a regional press hub nominally in charge of its own immigration policies. The FCC said in a statement that multiple media firms had reported delays getting visas in recent months. “The delays have affected journalists