British PM joins Sina Weibo
British Prime Minister David Cameron has joined Sina Weibo and posted his first message ahead of a visit to Beijing, Downing Street said on Saturday. “Hello my friends in China. I’m pleased to have joined Weibo and look forward to visiting China very soon,” he said in English and Mandarin in his first message. It has since been forwarded more than 24,000 times. Cameron has attracted more than 101,000 followers since setting up his account, which helpfully points out that he has the star sign Libra. The British prime minister’s social media savvy has come a long way since he said in 2009 that he was not joining Twitter because “too many twits might make a twat.” He set up his own Twitter account in October last year under the handle @David_Cameron, which now has more than 525,000 followers. Cameron was due to leave for China yesterday on a trip aimed at fostering good relations with the new leadership in Beijing and forging business links.
No damage from 6.3 quake
A strong, shallow earthquake rocked eastern parts of the country early yesterday, but there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries. The US Geological Survey said the 6.3 magnitude quake was centered 343km northwest of Saumlaki, a coastal town in Maluku Province, at a depth of 9km beneath the sea. The Meteorology, Earthquake and Geophysics Agency put the quake’s preliminary magnitude at 6.7 and said that it was unlikely to trigger a tsunami, said Suhardjono, an agency official who, like many Indonesians, uses a single name.
AIDS compassion urged
Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi urged greater openness and compassion in the global struggle against AIDS yesterday as experts warned against complacency despite falling infection rates. Aung San Suu Kyi, the UNAIDS global advocate for HIV/AIDS victims, drew parallels between the plight of sufferers and her own struggle for democracy at the launch on World AIDS Day of a new “zero discrimination” campaign and a conference to be held in Australia in July. “The fight against discrimination is an extension of our fight for freedom from fear,” the Burmese opposition leader said, using the title of a famous essay she wrote. “My simple message as the global ambassador for zero discrimination is it all starts in the mind and in the heart. There must be less calculation and more warmth, more love, more affection, more compassion. We must have our differences and we must recognise them, but these differences should be an opportunity for us to be more complete human beings.” The world’s first Zero Discrimination Day is to be held on March 1.
Typhoon survivors tricked
About a thousand traumatized survivors of the nation’s deadliest typhoon fled their homes following false rumors of a tsunami, officials said yesterday. Officials in the province of Antique were visiting upland villages where people had fled overnight to convince them there was no danger and it was safe to return to their coastal homes, said Broderick Train, the civil defense chief for the province. “These are people who have been traumatized by their experience with Typhoon [Haiyan]. When the false information began spreading yesterday [Saturday] they immediately fled,” he told reporters in a telephone interview. “When people leave their homes they become targets for break-ins,” a spokesman for Antique’s disaster management group said.