Sun, Jun 15, 2014 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

Agencies

PHILIPPINES

Manila protests to Beijing

Manila said yesterday it had filed a protest with Beijing for reclaiming land on a disputed South China Sea reef, the fourth such complaint in three months. The new protest over reclamation at the McKeenan Reef in the Spratly Islands (Nansha Islands, 南沙群島) further heats up an increasingly tense dispute over the waters where China has been accused of using bullying tactics against other claimants. Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said the protest was filed last week. “They are doing reclamation work,” he said in a brief statement. He did not say if China had responded. The Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei and Malaysia have conflicting claims to parts or all of the same territory, which has led to tense confrontations.

CHINA

Bad-air complaints double

Complaints about air pollution in the capital of Beijing more than doubled in the first five months of this year, the city environment authority said, a sign of rising public anger about the cost of rapid economic growth. The Beijing Municipal Environmental Bureau revealed late on Friday that 12,599 formal complaints about smog were lodged by members of the public from January to last month, 124 percent higher than the same period of last year. Beijing, routinely shrouded in hazardous smog, has been on the front line of a “war against pollution” declared by Premier Li Keqiang (李克強) in March in a bid to head off growing discontent about the state of the country’s skies, rivers and soil. Smog was involved in 72.6 percent of the total number of environment-related complaints submitted to the Beijing authorities from January to last month, the environmental bureau said.

CHINA

Beijing frees artist Chen

Soldier-turned-artist Chen Guang (陳光) was released yesterday, more than a month after he was detained ahead of the 25th anniversary of the military crackdown on pro-democracy protests, his friend said. Chen was among a dozen or so people detained by the government bent on preventing any commemoration of the bloody suppression that took place at Tiananmen Square on June 3 and 4, 1989. Chen witnessed the crackdown as a military soldier in 1989 and later became a dissident artist. His detention is believed to be connected to a private art performance, where he whitewashed over walls of painted year numbers from 1989 on. “[This performance is about] what has happened to us, to me, to society,” he said in an interview a week before public security officers detained him. “It is meant to be a reflection of why we have not made a correct and fair assessment of what happened 25 years ago,” he said.

HONG KONG

Police arrest protesters

Police used pepper spray to scatter protesters at government headquarters in an angry rally against plans for a new town development, with 21 arrested, officials said yesterday. About 900 people gathered at the city’s government complex, with some trying to force their way into the building to oppose the project, which they say will displace villagers and turn farmland into housing estates — favoring property developers. TV footage showed protesters pushing over barricades and surging towards an entrance to the Legislative Council as lawmakers met to discuss funding for the development. Police cordons inside and outside the building pushed back the rally late on Friday as protesters tried to prize the doors open with bamboo sticks. Lawmakers were forced to suspend the meeting.

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