Social media hailed
State media hailed the power of the Internet yesterday after a probe was launched into a top state planner following an online expose, making him the most senior official toppled by social media. Liu Tienan (劉鐵男), deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission, is being investigated for “serious disciplinary violations,” state-run media said on Sunday, after graft claims emerged online in December last year. Chinese have taken to Internet forums such as Sina Weibo in recent years to expose wrongdoing and to vent their anger over corruption. A motley parade of lower ranking officials have gained widespread notoriety after their indiscretions spread like wildfire on the Internet. “This is the true meaning of democracy and the rule of law which are developing in China,” said an editorial in the Global Times newspaper yesterday, under the headline “Public opinion empowers Weibo’s effect.” Allegations against Liu, who was party boss of the National Energy Administration until March, surfaced when a journalist accused him of improper business dealings late last year.
Emperors faked rituals
Ancient rulers misled their people by fabricating results of divination rituals used to help decide policy and shape public opinion, state media quoted researchers as saying yesterday. Emperors during the Shang dynasty (1600 BC to 1046 BC) relied heavily on prophecy and divination, using techniques such as burning turtle shells or cattle bones and basing predictions on the pattern of cracks, Xinhua news agency said. “We have learned from our experiments that the appearance of certain crack patterns is basically controllable,” it cited Hou Yanfeng (侯彥峰), a specialist at an archeology laboratory in Henan Province, as saying. “During the Shang Dynasty, the emperor was the leader of the diviners. Thus, it is possible that he controlled public opinion via oracle bone divination,” Hou said.
Teen ‘hired hitmen’
A school pupil was arrested for hiring hitmen who killed his father and sister because of the pressure they put on him to study, reports said yesterday. The teenager was detained in Henan Province following the death of his father Gao Tianfeng — a senior court official — and his 20-year-old sister, Xinhua news agency said, citing local police. “According to the police interrogation of the boy, the junior hired two men that he got to know via the Internet to kill his father and elder sister, because ‘they had given him too much pressure in study,’” Xinhua said. Surveillance cameras showed two men had climbed over a wall and entered the house in Zhoukou at the time of the murder early on Sunday, the report said, adding two of the three suspects allegedly involved, including Gao’s son, are being held.
Plane crashes in Sana’a
A military plane on a training exercise crashed yesterday in Sana’a, slamming into a residential neighborhood and setting at least four houses ablaze, according to a military official and a reporter at the scene. There was no immediate word on casualties, but several ambulances were rushing to the site of the crash. Security forces have cordoned off the area where the plane went down in southern Sana’a.
Man tries to save own arm
A Hungarian man who sawed off one of his arms by accident below the elbow managed to drive 15km from Purbach to a hospital in a nearby city clutching the severed limb, police said on Sunday. The 37-year-old somehow succeeded in fishing the arm out of the machinery that had sliced it off before getting in his car and speeding to the emergency department in Eisenstadt. Police said the only reason the man did not bleed to death was that he was in shock. He was airlifted to hospital in Vienna where doctors hoped to save the arm.
Boy arrested in murder
Police have arrested a 12-year-old California boy for the murder of his eight-year-old sister, in a case that prompted an intense manhunt. Police were initially searching for an armed intruder for the April 27 murder of Leila Fowler, based on testimony from her brother, who was the only other person home when she was stabbed. However, in a statement released on Saturday night, the sheriff’s office said they had settled on the brother as their suspect. “We have put over 2,000 hours in this investigation to provide Leila Fowler’s family answers to her death,” Sheriff Gary Kuntz told a news conference after the arrest. The brother told police he saw an intruder flee the house and, soon after, found his sister stabbed. He called his parents, who called police. The girl died in the hospital.
Man impales himself, dies
A mentally ill man died on Sunday after gouging out his eyes and impaling himself on a post as authorities tried to restrain him, a police source said. The man, who had a history of psychiatric illness, was being driven to hospital by his wife in Marseille. He escaped and tried to fling himself under a bus, the driver of which alerted authorities. As police tried to control him, he gouged out his eyes and impaled himself on the post that was holding up a fence, sustaining fatal injuries.
Lawmakers brawl in club
A brawl in a restaurant put two members of parliament in hospital on Sunday. An argument between patrons of La Truffe, an upscale restaurant and club frequented by President Mikheil Saakashvili and his allies in Tbilisi, flared into a fight about midnight on Saturday that lasted 10 to 15 minutes, police said. Georgy Vashadze, David Sakvarelidze, lawmakers from Saakashvili’s United National Movement, were hospitalized along with former minister of agriculture Zaza Gorozia after the fight. All three were released later on Sunday.
No story: Mubarak’s lawyer
A lawyer representing former president Hosni Mubarak on Sunday denied that his client had spoken to a newspaper, describing as a fabrication reports that he had said it was too early to judge President Mohamed Morsi’s performance. Sunday’s edition of El-Watan said its journalist had broken through security lines to speak to Mubarak on Saturday before his retrial on charges of complicity in the death of protesters killed in the uprising that swept him from office. El-Watan’s editor-in-chief Magdi El Galad stood by his reporter’s account. Lawyer Farid el-Deeb said he had sent Mubarak, 85, a message asking if the interview had happened. “He sent me a message saying this didn’t happen,” El Galad said.