City may ease one child law
The southern city of Guangzhou has proposed revisions to its family planning regulations that would allow more people to have more than one child, the China Daily reported yesterday. The proposals include eight situations in which couples would be allowed to have another child, the newspaper reported, citing a draft of the revised rules. It did not say how many situations are included in the current regulations. The revised rules include allowing couples, when one or both spouse have been previously married, to have a child if one person has had no more than two children from previous marriages and the other has had no children. Current rules allow such couples to have a child if one person has had no more than one child in a previous marriage and the other has had none, the newspaper reported. Families in Guangzhou have an average of 2.73 people, compared with the national average of 3.10, the newspaper reported.
PM touts feminine diplomacy
The territorial disputes in the South China Sea are a diplomatic minefield, but Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra hopes to bring something new to the negotiating table: a woman’s touch. Yingluck told the Asia Society on Wednesday that as a nonclaimant state on good terms with all parties involved, Thailand wants to help. While stressing she was not underestimating the challenge, Yingluck said: “Perhaps I can bring a bit of a woman’s touch to addressing this conflict.” Thailand is ASEAN’s liaison with China, which claims most of the sea and has conflicting claims with several ASEAN members. Diplomatic efforts to frame a code of conduct have been heavy-going. Yingluck was a political novice before becoming the nation’s first female prime minister last year.
US general faces sex charges
A decorated army general is facing charges of forcible sodomy and engaging in inappropriate relationships stemming from allegations that got him sent home from Afghanistan this year, officials said on Wednesday. Brigadier General Jeffrey Sinclair, who is based at North Carolina’s Fort Bragg, has also been charged with wrongful sexual conduct, possessing alcohol and pornography while deployed, and mistreating subordinates, military officials said in a statement. Sinclair, a 27-year army veteran, had served as a deputy commander for support in Afghanistan. At least some of the allegations involved inappropriate relationships with female subordinates during his service there, an official said, speaking on condition on anonymity.
Al-Qaeda posts Osama film
Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri resurfaced for the second time in a month on Wednesday in an online video on the life of his late predecessor Osama bin Laden. In the almost hour-long video, the third in a series entitled Days with the Imam, Zawahiri narrates stories about bin Laden, who was killed by US Navy SEALs last year in May in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Dressed in a white thawb cloak and turban, Zawahiri revealed “for those who do not know” that bin Laden was left blind in the right eye after an accident in his youth. He also said bin Laden was a former member of the Saudi branch of the Muslim Brotherhood before being expelled for insisting on jihad against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 1980s. Bin Laden went to Pakistan to deliver cash aid to the jihadists in Peshawar, but joined the armed struggle, Zawahiri said.