Chinese boat runs into reef
A Chinese fishing boat has run aground on the World Heritage-listed Tubbataha Reef, authorities said yesterday. The vessel, with 12 crew members, was found stranded in the shallows of in the Sulu Sea just before midnight on Monday, coastguard spokesman Lieutenant Commander Arman Balilo told reporters. “This is a small fishing boat, but we are wondering how they strayed into Tubbataha. Apart from illegal entry, we are investigating them for possible poaching as well,” Balilo said. Balilo said the boat was to be pulled off the reef yesterday and then towed to Palawan, where the fishermen would be questioned. Balilo said Chinese fishermen frequently strayed into national waters, but this was the first time in recent years that they had been detected as far south as Tubbataha.
Internet domain name freed
The nation could become one of the world’s most popular Internet destinations after it became the first African country to give its domain away for free, despite its domain currently being ranked 177th in the world and only 4 percent of its population are online. The government announced that its little-known .ML domain — which is currently used by fewer than 50 active Web sites — will be free from July, in a move which it hopes will bring much-needed outside investment and give a boost to local businesses. The new scheme is being operated by Freedom Registry, the company which operates a similar .TK system for Tokelau — the tiny cluster of coral atolls in the South Pacific with a population of less than 2,000, but which is now the most popular domain name in the world, with more active domain name registrations than Russia and China combined. Interest in the .ML domain is expected to come from a number of countries or cities, including Manila, and Malaysia, attracted by the resemblance between the letters and their own names.
Six sentenced for ‘gutter oil’
The Nanchang County People’s Court says it has sentenced six people to up to five years in prison for collecting used cooking oil and reselling it as new. The recycled oil is known as “gutter oil” and can contain carcinogens. It is typically bought from restaurants and the black-market trade of it has been a chronic problem across the nation. The court says three people in Jiangxi Province were found guilty of buying substandard cooking oil and selling 1,000 tonnes of it in 2011. The court statement says the effort made the sellers US$1 million. Three other people at a drinks manufacturer in Guangdong Province bought oil from the first group and sold it to cooking oil distributors. They were imprisoned for three to five years for selling poisonous food.
Dengue infects hundreds
An outbreak of dengue fever has killed three people, infected hundreds more and is straining the nation’s medical system. Health authorities in Honoria and Australia yesterday said that at least 1,700 people are suspected to have contracted the disease since the outbreak began in February. Australia and New Zealand are sending medical staff to the country to assist. Australia will lead a team of nine doctors, nurses and public health experts, while a second team of 10 remains on standby to deploy there if necessary.