Party to check declarations
The Chinese Communist Party will be conducting spot checks this year on assets and other personal information reported by officials and those with hidden wealth will be punished, Xinhua news agency reported yesterday. Officials are required to submit a broad range of information each January, including personal income, family assets and relatives’ emigration records. The party’s organization and personnel departments will conduct random sampling of the information submitted, Xinhua said.
Bullet train travel disrupted
A fire near a central Tokyo station yesterday threw parts of the nation’s bullet train system into chaos, as tens of thousands of passengers tried to return home from New Year holidays. The early-morning fire sent plumes of black smoke over Yurakucho station — gateway to the Ginza shopping area. No casualties were reported, but the blaze at commercial buildings next to railway tracks near the station forced the suspension of all bullet trains departing from Tokyo to Nagoya and Osaka and from Osaka to Tokyo. It also stopped major commuter lines in Tokyo. The blaze was reported around 6:30am and possibly started in a games arcade, according to Tokyo Fire Department, which sent more than 40 fire engines to the scene.
Car bombing kills four
A car bomb killed four people in south Beirut on Thursday, the fourth attack to hit the Hezbollah bastion since the Shiite group announced its intervention in Syria last year, Health Minister Ali Hassan Khalil said. He said four people had been killed, 77 wounded, and the remains of a fifth person had also been found. Interior Minister Marwan Charbel said it may have been a suicide bombing. The army said 20kg of explosives had been planted inside a four-by-four vehicle.
Axe murderer sentenced
A man who killed three children and injured 13 others in an axe attack at an elementary school in September 2012 has been sentenced to death, the China News Service said on Thursday. Wu Yechang was condemned to die by the Intermediate People’s Court in Guigang in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. He was also ordered to pay the victims’ families a total of 19,316 yuan (US$3,200), it said, citing a local court in Pingnan County. The sentence must be confirmed by the supreme court.
Uighur transfer condemned
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday criticized the US for sending the last three Uighur Chinese inmates at the Guantanamo Bay detention center to Slovakia. Spokesman Qin Gang (秦剛) said the three were members of the separatist East Turkestan Islamic Movement and “not only threaten China’s security, they will threaten the security of the country that receives them.”
Ford to run for another term
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has put his name on the ballot to run for another term, defying repeated calls for him to step down after admitting he smoked crack “in a drunken stupor.” Ford was the first candidate to show up at Toronto City Hall when registration opened on Thursday for the city’s municipal election on Oct. 27. He promised “Ford more years” and also called himself “the best mayor this city has ever had.” The conservative mayor of the nation’s largest city has said he would run again, even after the revelations last year about his drug use pushed him into the international media spotlight. Ford has faced intense pressure to resign over that and other erratic behavior that has embarrassed many residents. In the weeks since the revelations, Ford said he has quit drinking and adopted a healthier lifestyle.