Visit Liu Xia: activist
Chinese activists are urging the public to visit dissident Liu Xiaobo’s (劉曉波) wife to highlight that she has been under house arrest since her husband won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010. Activist Hu Jia (胡佳) yesterday said that Chinese citizens and foreign politicians should visit Liu Xia (劉霞) at her guarded Beijing apartment to help her regain freedom. A Hong Kong online newspaper, Mingbao, published a detailed guide for visiting the home. Hu and other activists brushed past a guard to visit the home last week. Hu is taking a cue from an earlier mobilization to visit blind activist Chen Guangcheng (陳光誠) in Shandong before he escaped house arrest last spring.
Taliban mock US pullout
The Taliban yesterday likened the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan to its pullout from Vietnam, calling it a “declare victory and run” strategy. A statement from the militant group said the ongoing transfer of security operations from US troops to Afghan forces was a retreat similar to the US withdrawal from South Vietnam prior to the communist victory there in 1975. “They want to flee from Afghanistan just as they turned tail and ran from Vietnam,” the Taliban statement said. “When America faced utter destruction in Vietnam, they came up with the formula ‘declare victory and run’ and want to utilize the formula of ‘transfer security and run’ here in Afghanistan.”
Rain in trouble over photos
Pop star Rain is facing questions after paparazzi photos showed him out on the town with a top actress. The defense ministry yesterday said it was investigating whether Rain broke military rules by meeting actress Kim Tae-hee while on duty. Rain is fulfilling his compulsory army service as an entertainer for the military. He is not allowed to have private meetings while outside his Seoul base for official duties such as recording and performing. The ministry says a brief lockup in a military jail cannot be ruled out as a penalty. Kim’s agency admits that the two have dated for a month. Rain’s agency neither denies nor confirms it. Rain joined the military in October 2011 and is scheduled to be discharged in July.
UK tourist killed at party
Police have arrested a suspect in the death of a British tourist struck by a stray bullet at a New Year’s Eve party on the island of Koh Pa Ngan. Police Colonel Krittakarn Kramomthong yesterday said that 22-year-old Stephen David Ashton was shot in his torso early on Tuesday morning and died in a hospital. He said police arrested a 26-year-old Thai man and confiscated his pistol. The suspect is expected to be charged with manslaughter.
Thousands take icy plunge
A record 40,000 people braved icy temperatures on the North Sea coast on Tuesday to take a cold plunge, setting a new record for the traditional New Year’s Day dip, organizers said. “There were around 10,000 swimmers in Scheveningen and a record number of 40,000 across the Netherlands,” spokeswoman Jiske Barten said. In the resort of Scheveningen, a district of The Hague and the main spot among the 102 nationwide for the growing annual event, many of the bathers wore Christmas hats and sported swimwear in the national orange color as they ran into the sea, screaming and laughing despite the water temperature of 8oC.