China yesterday adopted a law to protect for the first time the rights of the mentally ill after years of accusations that psychiatric hospitals are used to lock up people against their will and silence dissidents. Human rights advocates called the hard-fought for law, which has been debated for more than two decades, significant, even though they say it still falls short of international standards as it allows for involuntary commitment without judicial review. “The most important thing that this law does is it will allow civil society to step in to monitor and press for improvement in the management of mental health in China, including ... pushing for greater transparency and progressive curtailment of police rights,” said Nicholas Bequelin, a researcher at New York-based Human Rights Watch.
Storm leaves six dead
Tropical Storm Son-Tinh has left six people dead and nine missing in the country and is heading toward Vietnam and southern China. Civil defense chief Benito Ramos said yesterday the fatalities included an 88-year-old woman who died of hypothermia and a 77-year-old man hit by a falling tree in central Philippines More than 30,000 people stranded at seaports and airports were expected to resume their journeys after storm warnings were lifted yesterday and floodwaters began subsiding.
? SOUTH KOREA
Gas leak delays launch
The nation was forced to postpone its third attempt to launch a satellite into space from its own soil because of a last-minute technical glitch. Space agency chief Kim Seung-jo said engineers found a gas leak in the link between the two-stage rocket and the launch pad just hours before yesterday’s planned lift-off. The South has tried unsuccessfully two other times to launch a satellite. In 2009, the rocket failed to deploy the satellite in orbit. In 2010, the rocket carrying the satellite exploded just two minutes after lift-off. Kim said it would take at least another three days to try again.
Reward for thief’s head
Davao City Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has offered a US$121,000 reward for the decapitated head of the alleged leader of a gang of car thieves. Duterte, known for being tough on criminals, told a news conference in Davao on Wednesday that he would give 2 million pesos (US$48,400) if suspect Ryan Yu is arrested and 4 million pesos if he’s killed. He said he would add another 1 million pesos if Yu’s decapitated head was delivered to him “in ice.” Davao police chief Ronald de la Rosa said yesterday that many interested parties had sent text messages wanting assurance they would receive the reward.
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
A cat that went missing on a family holiday on the shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland, has been identified 12 years later. Tortoiseshell-and-white Georgie spent October half term in 2008 with her owners at the Rowardennan campsite, but vanished as they were due to return home to Greater Manchester, England. After a search of the site the Davies family departed without Georgie, hoping the three-year-old microchipped feline would be located by someone. Over the intervening 12 years, she remained close to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park site, being fed and cared for by campsite staff and holidaymakers. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdown
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