UN meets on S China Sea
The Philippines said a UN arbitration tribunal has convened in The Hague to look into a case it lodged to question the legality of China’s massive territorial claims in the South China Sea. Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez told a news conference yesterday that the five-member tribunal under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) convened last week in the Netherlands and approved a set of rules to look into the legal challenge the Philippines launched against Beijing in January. The Philippines says that China’s claim over virtually the entire South China Sea, including its seizure of several islets and reefs, is illegal and violates UNCLOS, the 1982 UN convention which sets territorial limits for coastal states.
Disabled students excluded
Millions of students with disabilities are being deprived of education because of pervasive barriers and a failure to devote resources, Human Rights Watch said on Monday. In a study based on 62 interviews, the New York-based advocacy group said few children with disabilities were able to pursue school into their teenage years. The report credited the country with some progress, including making commitments when it ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2008, but it said more needed to be done. The country requires physical examinations for university admittance, which force applicants to declare any disabilities, said Sophie Richardson, the group’s China director. It also makes little effort to accommodate students with visual or hearing impairments when they take the all-important national exam known as the gaokao, she said. The report said the country has developed some well-resourced schools for special education, but students are rarely given options of pursuing mainstream careers. Human Rights Watch quoted official statistics saying 28 percent of children with disabilities were not receiving educations.
Overweight sex firm busted
Police have arrested the alleged ringleader of a sex home delivery service specializing in women weighing up to 150kg, a force spokesman said yesterday. Keiko Saito, 41, and one of her employees are suspected of conspiring to run a prostitution business under the name Makkusu Bodi (“Max Body”), which boasted that it catered for men who like “explosive boobs and bums,” police said. Saito is alleged to have had about 30 overweight women in her employ, including one who tipped the scales at more than 150kg, Jiji Press reported. Saito, who is believed to have earned about ￥400 million (US$4 million) over three years, had previously worked as a prostitute, Jiji said.
‘Fake’ museum shut
Authorities have closed a museum which contained scores of fake exhibits, including a vase decorated with cartoon characters billed as a Qing
Dynasty artifact, state-run media reported yesterday. The facility, built in Hebei Province at a cost of 540 million yuan (US$88 million), has “no qualification to be a museum as its collections are fake,” a local official told the Global Times newspaper. It had been closed, the paper said, while its founders have been placed “under investigation” after local residents accused them of wasting village money. Several items were supposedly signed by the Yellow Emperor in the 27th century BC, but the signatures used the simplified Chinese characters brought in after 1949.