Domestic violence rises
Domestic violence in the nation’s tsunami and atomic disaster zone has risen dramatically, a report released on Friday — International Women’s Day — said. Increased stress caused by coping with the aftermath of the March 2011 tsunami, or the fear of radiation from the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, could be to blame, the report from news agency Jiji Press said. In Fukushima, where the tsunami sparked reactor meltdowns and radiation leaks, 840 cases of domestic violence were reported to police last year, 64 percent higher than a year earlier, Jiji Press reported. In Miyagi Prefecture, where waves devoured coastal communities, 1,856 cases were reported, up a third on the previous year, the agency said. Many families from Fukushima have been divided, with men forced to stay behind because they are unable to find work near to the temporary homes to which their wives and children have fled. Experts say that mental distress could be one of the biggest health problems to emerge from the disaster.
Kerry honors Japan dead
The US on Friday mourned the “unimaginable disaster” which hit Japan two years ago when a tsunami smashed into the coast, killing some 19,000 people and triggering a nuclear calamity. However, US Secretary of State John Kerry said that while mourning the victims “we also recall that the world marveled at the resiliency and dignity of the Japanese people as they worked to overcome the tragedy.” “Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with those who lost loved ones. While observing this sad anniversary, we also recall and renew the deep bonds of friendship that connect us across the Pacific Ocean,” he said. Tomorrow marks the second anniversary of the disaster.
Women pedal for power
A group of determined women took to bikes on Friday, riding through the capital to highlight their rights and love of exercise in a culture that often treats them as second-class citizens. Some wearing helmets, others in headscarfs, dressed in jeans or in traditional dresses, the group navigated the leafy streets with colorful balloons tied to their handlebars, past baffled police and security guards. To mark International Women’s Day in a country where women are rarely seen on a bike, they set out from Kohsar market, a collection of upmarket coffee shops, to the city’s landmark Faisal Mosque set in the Margalla Hills. “The point is that women have the right to ride a bicycle. We are just having girl power here,” 30-year-old charity worker Masoora Ali said.
Yang denies hacking claims
Minister of Foreign Affairs Yang Jiechi (楊潔篪) has rejected accusations that the Chinese military was behind massive hacking attacks on US and other foreign targets and called for more international cooperation in policing the Internet. Yang is the highest-level Chinese official to comment on the claims in a widely endorsed report last month by US cybersecurity firm Mandiant that traced hacking attacks to a Chinese military unit based in Shanghai. Although he did not address specific accusations in his comments yesterday, Yang described the claims as a politically motivated smear campaign. Speaking at an annual news conference in Beijing during the National People’s Congress, Yang said China was a major target for hacking attacks and that it supported international regulations under the UN to keep the Internet peaceful, free and secure.