Convict escapes in shorts
A man serving 23 years for the attempted murder of a police officer was on the run yesterday after escaping from a penitentiary in Hiroshima clad only in white underwear, the nation’s first jailbreak in more than two decades. Li Guolin (李國林) was exercising in a prison yard when he stripped off his convict’s uniform and used scaffolding erected by builders to climb over a 5m perimeter fence on Wednesday, Kyodo news agency said, citing officials. The Mainichi Shimbun said it was the country’s first escape since 1990, when a youth fled a juvenile detention center. Police were stationed outside schools in Hiroshima amid a security alert. “We are really sorry,” Kyodo quoted a prison official as saying.
Real-time air data released
Beijing yesterday began publishing real-time air quality data on the Internet, bowing to a vocal online campaign for greater government transparency over pollution in the capital. The move followed the announcement that Beijing would change the way it measures air quality this month to include the smaller particles experts say are most harmful to health. It is the latest example of the challenge authorities face as the nation’s online population increasingly uses the Internet to press its demands. Beijingers have used China’s hugely popular microblogging sites to express strong criticism of the city government’s data, which frequently rates the air quality as good, even when there is thick smog. The controversy has been compounded by US embassy statistics on air quality published online and on Twitter that measure the small particles, known as PM2.5, and often register dangerous pollution levels.
Activist to be questioned
A prominent rights activist released from prison last year says that police in Beijing have summoned him for questioning after searching his home and seizing two computers on Wednesday. The police interrogation of Hu Jia (胡佳) comes after he used his Twitter account to complain about the denial of visitors to jailed rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng (高智晟). Hu also has appealed online to authorities holding Gao to let his family visit him. Hu said he was summoned yesterday morning.
Military rocked by scandal
The military was rocked yesterday by a new sex scandal, including allegations of assault, child porn, rape and drug-dealing within its ranks. Documents obtained by Channel Seven News under the Freedom of Information Act detail what it called “ongoing, often major, breaches of discipline in Australia’s armed forces.” It said more than 100 incidents had been reported last year, from weapons mishaps to sexual assault, especially in the navy, where allegations of misconduct on four warships are being investigated. Among them, alleged sexual assaults on HMAS Newcastle and HMAS Diamantina have been referred to police. The documents, referred to as the “Hot Issues Brief,” detailed a female sailor aboard HMAS Success claiming she had been indecently assaulted during a port visit to Singapore by a male shipmate. Seven months later, a senior officer on the same vessel was reported to police for video--taping sexual encounters he had with junior sailors. On HMAS Toowoomba, a female sailor complained of indecent assault, bullying, and harassment, including a so-called “Beer Bounty” being placed on her: free beer for the first sailor to have sex with her.