Ai told to shutter webcams
Dissident artist Ai Weiwei (艾未未) said he was pressured by authorities into closing the webcams filming him live at home, the Hong Kong-based newspaper Ming Pao reported on Thursday. Ai told the BBC recently that he set up four live webcams and the Web site “weiweicam.com” on Tuesday for people who are concerned about him after he was released in June last year, the Chinese-language daily said. In response to supporters who left Twitter messages showing concern for Ai, he said he did not close the site of his own volition on Wednesday, but that the webcams would not reopen.
Six Uighurs on ‘terror’ list
The Ministry of Public Security has placed six Uighurs on a “terror” list, accusing them of involvement in terrorist training camps and of inciting attacks in Xinjiang. The ministry said the men, whose names identify them as Uighurs, were members of the outlawed East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), blaming one for orchestrating violent attacks in the city of Kashgar in July last year. It said in a statement late on Thursday it had frozen the funds and assets of the six men, whose whereabouts are not known.
Kim visits anti-US unit
Leader Kim Jong-un has visited a naval unit credited with anti-US feats. The visit comes as Pyongyang prepares to launch a long-range rocket later this month despite US warnings. The North’s official media yesterday said that the unit visited by leader Kim sank the USS Baltimore during the 1950s Korean War. Military historians dispute that claim. The official media also credited the unit with capturing the USS Pueblo in 1968. That ship was seized while on a spying mission off the North’s coast. It is still displayed in Pyongyang.
Tanker blaze kills seven
Seven people were burnt to death yesterday when a fuel tanker supplying a NATO base crashed and set their vehicle on fire, officials said. Panjwayi District security chief Sardar Mohammad and Kandahar police chief Abdul Raziq said there was no insurgent activity at the time, and residents later pulled back from claims that the Taliban had attacked with rocket-propelled grenades. “A fuel tanker supplying fuel for ISAF [the International Security Assistance Force] overturned and caught fire, and simultaneously a civilian minivan was passing nearby also set ablaze,” Mohammad said. Seven people were killed and three others who were injured were taken to hospital, he said.
Three wounded in blasts
Two explosions rocked the island of Palawan on Thursday, leaving three residents injured, police said. The authorities said they did not know the motive of the late-afternoon attacks, which occurred during the peak tourist season outside a hotel in El Nido town and near a bus depot in Puerto Princesa. A hotel cook was injured in the El Nido blast, which occurred 10 minutes before the other explosion slightly injured a tricycle driver and a woman in Puerto Princesa, about 175km away, a police report said. “The type of explosives used were not yet determined as of this time,” according to a report by local police sent to the regional police headquarters in Mindoro. The El Nido blast struck a hotel called the Entalula Beach Resort. No tourists were reported hurt.
Suriname pardons president
Suriname’s president defended a new amnesty law that will end his murder trial, saying on Thursday it will let his South American country resolve lingering bitterness over its military dictatorship and civil war. “This is a new beginning,” Surinamese President Desi Bouterse said during a visit to neighboring Guyana. “This amnesty is intended to heal the whole nation, not just one part of it.” The amnesty will end the trial of Bouterse and 24 associates, who were charged with abducting and killing 15 prominent political opponents to his dictatorship in December 1982. The prime minister of the Netherlands, Suriname’s former colonial ruler, denounced the decision to grant amnesty to Bouterse and recalled the country’s ambassador in protest.