Renowned designer dies
Industrial designer Sori Yanagi, whose kitchen and homeware stood at the vanguard of contemporary design for decades, has died of pneumonia, his office said yesterday. He was 96. Yanagi won worldwide acclaim for his Butterfly Stool exhibited at the XI Triennale of Milan in 1957 and subsequently went on to become a giant in the world of industrial design. Yanagi originally studied oil painting, but was heavily influenced by French architect Le Corbusier and shifted his focus to designing furniture and everyday items, such as tableware and cooking utensils. His style, which he applied to items ranging from light fittings and record players to the holder for the Olympic flame at the 1964 Tokyo Games, was a modern take on the traditional Japanese aesthetic of simplicity.
Microblog registry begins
Shanghai began requiring microblog users to register under their real names yesterday, state media said, the latest local government in the country to implement the rule after a spate of violent protests. Beijing and Guangdong Province have also ordered users of weibos — microblogs similar to Twitter — to register using their real names, as authorities tighten their grip on the Internet. The move comes amid a surge in social unrest that has been concentrated in the wealthy manufacturing heartland of Guangdong. Residents protesting against land seizures and a power plant in the province recently posted photographs and reports of their demonstrations on weibos, defying official efforts to block news of the incidents. With more than half a billion people in the country now online, authorities are concerned about the power of the Internet to influence public opinion in a country that maintains tight controls on its traditional media outlets. Shanghai said the new rules aimed to “foster a healthy Internet culture” and improve management over social networking, Xinhua news agency reported.
Super-fast train tested
The country launched a super-rapid test train over the weekend that is capable of traveling 500kph, state media said yesterday, as the country moves ahead with its railway ambitions despite serious problems on its high-speed network. The train, made by a subsidiary of CSR Corp Ltd, the country’s largest train maker, is designed to resemble an ancient sword, Xin-hua news agency reported. The railway industry has had a tough year, highlighted by a collision between two high-speed trains in July that killed at least 40 people. Construction of new high-speed trains has since been at a near halt. In February, then-minister of railways Liu Zhijun (劉志軍), a key figure behind the boom in the sector, was dismissed over corruption charges that have not yet been tried in court.
Elephant kills farmer
A rampaging wild elephant has trampled a farmer to death on Sumatra Island. Nyak Cut, a paramedic, said three farmers in Geumpang village in Aceh Province were trying to drive away a herd of wild elephants from their fields on Saturday when one of the animals charged, sending the men fleeing. Cut said one of the farmers, 60-year-old Mohammed Amin, was trampled to death after he stumbled and fell. He said villagers have threatened to kill the elephants if authorities fail to protect their farms. Only 3,000 Sumatran elephants are believed to remain in the wild. They are threatened by their shrinking habitat, with jungles being cleared for commercial farming or felled for lumber. The elephants sometimes venture into inhabited areas in search of food.