Tokyo complains to China
Tokyo yesterday said it has voiced “serious concern” to China at the construction of a drilling rig near a disputed gas field in the East China Sea. A Chinese vessel has been seen building what appears to be a drilling platform about 26km west — the Chinese side — of the median line between the two nations, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihiko Suga told a briefing. “Our position remains that we cannot accept China’s unilateral development in this region where Japan’s and China’s claims overlap, while delimitation in East China Sea remains undefined,” Suga said.
Regional official sacked
A senior official in Inner Mongolia has been sacked after his mistresses reportedly accused him of taking bribes and nepotism, Xinhua news agency reported yesterday. Wang Suyi, 52, has been removed from his post as chief of the United Front Work Department, an agency that liaises among the Chinese Communist Party and non-communist organizations. He is under investigation for “serious disciplinary violations,” Xinhua said. Wang’s mistresses accused him of taking 100 million yuan (US$16.3 million) in bribes, and of nepotism involving about 30 relatives, according to a microblog post by a senior editor of the Henan Daily, the South China Morning Post reported.
Sea Shepherd loses case
Sea Shepherd Australia suffered a blow to its fundraising hopes yesterday when the Federal Court of Australia rejected a bid for donations to be tax-deductible. The court turned down an appeal for charity status under tax laws, ruling the object of the anti-whaling organization’s campaigns were the Japanese whalers, not the care of animals. Sea Shepherd was challenging earlier rulings that it was not entitled to the tax concession normally granted to charitable groups.
‘Most wanted’ list published
Xinjiang authorities have issued an 11-person “most wanted” list and offered rewards for tipoffs about “terrorism cases,” the official news Web site Tianshannet said yesterday, after two violent incidents left at least 35 people dead last week. “We hope more people will help us with information and leave terrorists with no place to hide,” the Web site quoted a senior police information official as saying. Urumqi police have begun 24-hour patrols ahead of tomorrow’s anniversary of 2009 clashes that left about 200 people dead.
China executes Filipina
China put to death a Filipina drug trafficker yesterday, ignoring Manila’s request to spare her life, foreign department spokesman Raul Hernandez told a news conference. “It is with profound sadness that we confirm that our Filipina was executed in China this morning,” Hernandez said. He declined to disclose the woman’s identity, saying the government was honoring a request by her family.
Teacher tapes girl’s mouth
A teacher put duct tape over the mouth of a seven-year-old girl to stop her spreading germs to other pupils, the Sankei Shimbun reported yesterday. The man taped up the girl’s mouth as she readied to serve lunch to others in her class in Tochigi because she had forgotten to bring her own facemask, the newspaper said. The teacher apologized to the girl and her parents, the paper said, after an anonymous call was made to school authorities.
Rape protesters storm police
Several hundred protesters stormed a southern police station on Tuesday after authorities initially failed to arrest one of two policemen implicated in the rape of a young woman. The outrage prompted President Viktor Yanukovych to order a top-level enquiry into the gang rape of 29-year-old Iryna Krashkova. Residents of Vradiyivka hurled firebombs, bottles and stones as they attacked the police headquarters in the early hours of Tuesday. According to the victim, who has a nine-year-old child, the two policemen raped her last week after taking her into the woods with the help of a taxi driver, who has also been detained. Initially police detained only one officer, but following the huge outcry, the second policeman had been arrested.
Italian Mafia killings drop
Italian Mafia homicides have fallen by almost half in recent years, underscoring the organization’s ongoing shift into what look like legitimate business sectors, researchers said on Tuesday. Anna Alvazzi del Frate, research director of the Geneva-based Small Arms Survey think tank, said that Mafia killings in Italy dropped by 43 percent between 2007 and 2010, and that the trend was continuing. “We think that this may be related to the increasing involvement of Mafia groups in business relations, for example through money laundering, including involvement with the white-collar sector,” Alvazzi del Frate said.
Dozy woman survives fall
A woman beat the odds in the Prague underground on Monday when she fell under an oncoming train, but then crawled out from between carriages unscathed, police said on Tuesday. The young woman — who appeared to be dozing on her feet — fell off the platform into a deep groove between the subway rails, saving her from the impact of the undercarriage zooming by overhead. A video shows a bystander springing forward to grab the woman, but failing by a whisker. She falls into the track just moments before the train rumbles through.
Mandela grave row deepens
Former president Nelson Mandela’s family sought criminal charges of grave tampering against his eldest grandson on Tuesday amid an escalating row linked to the eventual burial site of the ailing anti-apartheid hero. The grandson, Mandla, allegedly had the remains of three of Mandela’s children moved from his ancestral village of Qunu in 2011 without the rest of the family’s consent. A complaint of tampering with a grave was made against Mandla on Tuesday by family members at a police station near Mthatha. Mandla is fighting a court order to return the remains to Qunu, where Mandela’s parents are also interred at the family gravesite.
Critical minister sacked
President Francois Hollande on Tuesday sacked Minister for the Environment Delphine Batho for describing this year’s belt-tightening budget as a “bad” one for her ministry. Batho, whose ministry’s budget was cut by 7 percent, is the first minister in the Socialist government to be axed for criticizing policy. French ministers are traditionally not supposed to criticize policy decisions publicly, even if they are personally opposed to them. However, the outspoken Minister for Industrial Renewal Arnaud Montebourg has not been dropped despite criticizing his peers several times and even questioning economic policy.