Female diplomats deployed
The government will deploy female labor officers to the Middle East, an official said yesterday, amid an inquiry into allegations some of its diplomats in these posts forced distressed Filipino workers there into prostitution. A total of 13 female officials will be sent soon to Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait and also Malaysia, to work with current staff at embassies there, labor department spokesman Nicon Fameronag said. They will mainly help workers who had sought refuge at embassy shelters to escape abuses by their employers, he added. The planned deployments were announced amid an investigation by the foreign department over allegations that at least two diplomats were forcing Filipinas at the shelters to submit to sex, either with them or other men.
Rewards offered over unrest
Xinjiang authorities announced rewards of up to 100,000 yuan (US$16,000) yesterday for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for the deadliest violence in four years in the region. The announcement came less than a week after a marauding gang staged a series of attacks in a Xinjiang township that killed 35 people. The government says that the attacks were carried out by a gang engaged in “religious extremist activities.” Beijing has traditionally blamed violence in Xinjiang on Islamic separatists who want to establish an independent state of “East Turkestan.”
Porn screened at rail station
A maintenance worker surprised passers-by near a railway station when he starting watching a banned porn film, not realizing his computer was connected to a giant screen, state media said yesterday. The worker, identified only by his surname, Yuan, was supposed to repair the screen, on a building near the main railway station in Jilin, the Global Times reported. However, when he began playing The Forbidden Legend: Sex and Chopsticks, hundreds of passers-by stopped to watch as well, Xinhua news agency reported. The company that owns the screen called him after about 10 minutes, and he immediately disconnected the computer before throwing the disc out of a window, the Global Times said.
Lhasa renovation completed
The controversial renovation of an historic area around a key monastery in the Tibetan capital has been completed, state media said yesterday. The 1.5 billion yuan (US$240 million) project in downtown Lhasa around the Jokhang Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site, has raised concerns that commercialization would harm old structures and local religious traditions. The seven-month project to upgrade infrastructure and preserve buildings was “completed on Sunday,” the Global Times said, citing a Lhasa media official. More than 100 Tibet experts last month sent a petition to President Xi Jinping (習近平) and UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova detailing the negative impact of the project.
Helicopter crash kills 19
Nineteen people died yesterday when a MI-8 helicopter crashed in the Yakutia region in eastern Siberia, the latest disaster to hit the nation’s accident-prone aviation industry, an aviation committee said. Of the 25 passengers, 11 were children, the emergencies ministry said in a separate statement without providing further details. The people died when the helicopter performed a hard landing, apparently in bad weather conditions.