Airport bomber on trial
A paralyzed former taxi driver has gone on trial for endangering public safety by setting off an explosion at Beijing’s airport. His lawyer said yesterday that 33-year-old Ji Zhongxing (冀中星) was only seeking attention for his grievances and did not intend to detonate the blast or hurt anyone. The explosion two months ago injured only Ji, who already had been paralyzed in what he said was a beating by city officials in Guangdong Province in 2005. He appeared in court on a stretcher, still suffering from injuries received in the blast. The trial in a Beijing district court lasted about three hours and the verdict was expected later. Ji faces three to 10 years in prison.
The Chongqing High Court yesterday upheld a guilty verdict and sentence against a former city official at the heart of a sex tape scandal. Lei Zhengfu (雷政富) was convicted in June of accepting more than 3 million yuan (US$500,000) in bribes from a developer to pay off a businessman who was using the tape to blackmail him. He appealed, but the court said it upheld Lei’s 13-year prison sentence and the seizure of 300,000 yuan of his assets along with the bribes he took.
Polluted water dumped
Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) said it dumped more than 1,000 tonnes of polluted water into the sea after Typhoon Man-yi raked the Fukishima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant on Monday. Rain swamped enclosure walls around clusters of water tanks containing toxic water that was used to cool broken reactors. “Workers measured the radioactive levels of the water collected in the enclosure walls, pumping it back into tanks when the levels were high,” a TEPCO official said. “Once finding it was mostly rain water they released it from the enclosure, because there is a limit on how much water we can store.” However, it said that at one site where water was found contaminated beyond the safety limit workers could not start the water pump quick enough in the torrential rain, and toxic water had leaked from the enclosure for several minutes.
Teen, 13, pursuing master’s
A 13-year-old girl is pursuing a master’s degree in microbiology after her father sold his land to pay for her tuition. Sushma Verma says she was able to finish high school at seven and undergraduate studies at 13 only with the sacrifices of her uneducated parents. They live with her three younger siblings in a room in Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh state, and live off her father’s daily wage of up to 200 rupees (less than US$3.50) for construction work. Her father sold 930m2 of land for 25,000 rupees to cover some of her school fees. The rest will come from a charity.
Villagers admit to lynching
Hundreds of villagers have signed a petition admitting taking part in the lynching of two suspected dog-snatchers in August last year, state media reported on Monday. The petition is an apparent attempt to prevent police singling out seven villagers accused of killing the two men, who were allegedly caught trying to sell dogs to local restaurants. An official from the Danh Thang commune said the petiton had drawn “hundreds of signatories” because “hundreds of people attacked the thieves” rather than the seven under suspicion, according to Thanh Nien newspaper.
Sanctions hit Web site
A US Web-hosting company has shut the Web site of an opposition leader held under house arrest in Tehran to comply with US sanctions, underscoring the unintended impacts of some of the curbs imposed on the Islamic republic. Washington has imposed sanctions restricting US entities’ trade with and provision of services to the country in a dispute over Tehran’s nuclear program. Hosting company Just Host last month shut down the Web site of Mehdi Karoubi, a reformist cleric, his former aide Mohammed Hossein Ziya said.