Ai invites Xi to Berlin show
Dissident artist Ai Weiwei (艾未未) said he hopes President Xi Jinping (習近平) makes time to see his exhibition during a visit to Germany this month. “It would be good if the president found the time to go visit the exhibition. He would see how a man of the same age as him and from the same background can become a totally different person,” Ai told the Suddeutsche Zeitung daily in an interview published on Saturday. Xi is due to pass through Berlin at the end of this month as part of a European tour that runs from Saturday to April 1, with the largest-ever exhibition of Ai’s work about to open at Berlin’s Martin-Gropius Bau hall. The artist is unable to attend as his passport was confiscated in 2011 following a nearly three-month detention. “We both belong to what is known as the ‘second red’ generation. Our parents were the generation that founded communism. In fact, his father and my father were good friends,” Ai said. “I would very much like to meet him one time, to discuss privately, so I can understand some of these things that have been puzzling me. We grew up, both of us, during the Cultural Revolution. We are products of that system. Why did I become so different?”
Man held for defiling books
Police on Friday arrested a man for allegedly tearing pages out of books related to Anne Frank at a Tokyo library. More than 300 books related to the Holocaust victim, including The Diary of a Young Girl, have been found vandalized recently at libraries across the capital. Tokyo police said the man, 36, sneaked into a library on Feb. 5 and ripped pages from 23 Frank-related books, including at least one copy of the diary. Some of the ripped pages were found in a plastic bag at an unidentified house in the city. Police said the suspect admitted to ripping the pages out of the books, but that his motive was unclear.
Nuclear sabotage reported
Authorities detected sabotage at the nation’s heavy water reactor facility and neutralized it before any damage was done, Atomic Energy Organization official Asghar Zarean was quoted as saying by the semi-official FARS news agency on Saturday. Zarean, a senior official in charge of nuclear security, said that the nation’s intelligence agencies were instrumental in uncovering the plot, but did not provide further details. “Several cases of industrial sabotage have been neutralized in the past few months before achieving the intended damage, including sabotage at a part of the IR-40 facility at Arak,” he said in a statement issued by the organization.
Several killed in stampede
At least seven people were killed and dozens injured in Abuja after thousands of panicked job-seekers stampeded at a government recruitment drive in Abuja Stadium on Saturday. Survivors told reporters that thousands had gathered to apply for jobs with the Department of Immigration, with one witness saying the stampede broke out as applicants surged toward a central stage and others saying that only one entrance to the 60,000-capacity venue was open. It was unclear how many people were inside at the time of the crush. “The immigration service was having a recruitment exercise at the stadium ... there was a stampede and they brought the victims to the national hospital,” hospital spokesman Tayo Haastrup said. No official casualty list was given, but a journalist on the scene counted seven dead and dozens injured.