Former official sentenced
A former vice mayor of Wenzhou was on Friday sentenced to three years in jail for abuse of power in a land deal, state media reported. A court jailed Ye Jiren (葉際仁) after he allotted a plot of land in Wenzhou to a private company against government rules for its use, Xinhua news agency said, quoting the court. The move caused a direct economic loss of 116 million yuan (US$19 million) for the government, the report said, but gave no further details. Authorities detained Ye in 2011 and gave the case to prosecutors last year, Xinhua said.
Exam ‘blinkers’ ridiculed
A university has taken drastic steps to stop would-be cheats by introducing makeshift “blinkers” for its examinees, thwarting students tempted by a furtive glance at their peers’ exam papers. The bizarre headgear — consisting of two A4 sheets of plain white writing paper attached by paperclips to a headband — was worn by nearly 100 students on Wednesday during a textile exam. It was the brainchild of a professor at one of Bangkok’s most famous universities who was concerned that his small exam room would encourage plagiarism. However, a photograph posted on Facebook of the students sporting the blinkers — which they made and customised themselves — during the exam at Kasetsart University, had by Friday stirred ridicule from the Thai press and social media. The controversy prompted the university to scrap the blinkers while the teacher behind the scheme toured television studios to explain the unusual measure. “It was for fun, relaxation and humor for the students. I want them to feel relaxed in their exams,” Nattadon Rungruangkitkrai said.
Gunmen kill policemen
Motorcycle gunmen shot dead two policemen on the outskirts of the capital overnight, officials said yesterday, the latest in a series attacks against officers. The two gunmen drove up to a police station on the southwest of Jakarta and shot one policeman on the street in the back of the head, national police spokesman Ronny Sompie said. Four officers in a police car gave chase, but the driver was shot dead after crashing into the bike. One of the suspects drove off on the bike and the other ran away. The shooting at the Pondok Aren police station in Tangerang District was the latest in a series of attacks against police officers. Nobody has yet claimed responsibility.
Hostages freed in Nigeria
Four Thais held in an apparent ransom kidnapping in Nigeria have been freed unharmed, a spokesman for the kingdom’s foreign ministry in Bangkok said yesterday. A gang of armed kidnappers seized the four Thais and two Nigerians on a waterway while they were on their way to work at a state-owned fish farm in the African nation’s southern Rivers State, Nigerian officials said last week. “All of them are released,” ministry spokesman Manasvi Srisodapol said of the Thais. “The Thai Foreign Minister has talked with one of them. They are fine and will continue to work in Nigeria,” he added, without confirming whether a ransom was paid or the exact time of their release. It was unclear what happened to the Nigerian hostages. Kidnaps for ransom are common in the remote and gang-ridden area. Most kidnap victims in southern Nigeria are released unharmed after the payment of a ransom, unlike in the country’s north, where Islamist extremists have killed a number of their hostages.