Afghan cooperation sought
The country said yesterday that it will work with Afghanistan to fight terrorism, after it blamed a deadly train station attack on extremists from its western Xinjiang region, which shares a short border with the war-torn nation. Beijing has become increasingly concerned about security in restive Xinjiang, where it says Muslim extremists receive help from militants in neighboring countries. Authorities said separatists from the region, home to a large Muslim Uighur minority, launched a terrorist attack in the southwestern city of Kunming last week, killing at least 29 people and injuring about 140. The government will work with the international community for political reconciliation in Afghanistan and support reconstruction, Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) said at a press briefing during an annual session of China’s largely rubber-stamp parliament.
District chief killed by bomb
Police say a bomb has ripped through the vehicle of a district chief in the east of the country, killing him. Nangarhar provincial police chief spokesman Hazrat Hussain Mashreqiwal said the early yesterday morning blast in the district capital, Jalalabad, killed Noor Agha Kamran, head of Nazian District. Mashreqiwal says two of Kamran’s bodyguards are in hospital with serious wounds. Another four people in the area were treated for minor injuries and released from hospital, he said. No one has taken immediate responsibility for the bombing, but Nazian district has a heavy presence of Taliban insurgents.
Checkpoints get makeover
Military checkpoints set up in the capital to keep security during the country’s political unrest are getting a makeover in a bid to project a kinder, gentler image, the army said on Friday. Major General Wara Boonyasit, a division commander, said soldiers have decorated some bunkers with colorful flowers and potted plants after Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra suggested that the 176 checkpoints around Bangkok may be unnerving residents and scaring foreign tourists. Soldiers were deployed in force around the capital last week after a spate of armed attacks on anti-government demonstrators who are demanding Yingluck’s resignation. While the violence has eased, two people were slightly wounded on Friday by gunshots fired from a park in the heart of Bangkok that is occupied by the protesters, police said. Wara said checkpoints — some of which have been decorated with flowerpots — would also be relocated to less prominent locations to become less obtrusive.
Crowd forms ‘woman’ sign
More than 10,000 people gathered in the capital yesterday in a bid to set a world record for the largest formation of the gender symbol for “woman,” as part of International Women’s Day. The event, sponsored by the government’s commission on women and the local bottler of Coca-Cola, brought together 10,168 men and women who formed the giant symbol in Manila’s main public park, organizers said. “The women’s symbol puts a spotlight on how women are poised to become the social and economic powerhouses of the future,” Coca-Cola Philippines vice-president Adel Tamano said. Organizers of the event said that it would still take a week before the record is officially validated by Guinness World Records.