Conditional release for Du
Beijing-based video and photojournalist Du Bin (杜斌) yesterday said he has been conditionally released from detention after five weeks in which he was asked about his book on the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre and a film he made about labor camp abuses. Du said by telephone that state security officials released him on Monday evening from the Fengtai District detention center and told him that for the next 12 months he is restricted from leaving the city without informing the authorities ahead of time. The authorities were questioning him to learn if the work he did amounted to the crime of “causing a disturbance,” Du said, adding he had not been formally charged.
General’s son charged
The son of People’s Liberation Army General Li Shuangjiang (李雙江) has been charged with rape, Xinhua news agency said, in a case that has sparked public anger over the seemingly privileged lives of elite youths. Li Tianyi (李天一), 17, “is among five suspects who allegedly gang-raped a woman in a hotel” in February, Xinhua said late on Monday, citing a Beijing district prosecutor. The general is dean of the music department for the army’s Academy of Arts, and is known for singing patriotic songs. The public prosecutor’s office only provided the surname of the suspect, but confirmed “the case is the same gang rape case,” Xinhua said. Li Tianyi triggered controversy in 2011 after he and another teen, both driving expensive cars, attacked a couple who reportedly blocked their passage, while the victims’ child looked on. He was sent to a correctional facility for one year.
Warning to fishing boats
The government has banned its trawlers from fishing in waters off the eastern coast of North Korea, due to a dispute over fuel supplies. Pyongyang decided last month that Chinese ships operating legally in its waters had to buy fuel from its suppliers rather than making their own arrangements as in the past, Beijing said late on Monday. “Our fishing boat owners and companies believe this decision by North Korea will affect normal fishing operations and safety, creating risks and dangers,” the government said on its main Web site. Waters to the east of North Korea are also especially risky due to the “complex, changeable situation on the Korean Peninsula” and their proximity to Russia, Japan and South Korea, the government added.
Buses fall into river
Authorities say two passenger buses plunged into a fast-flowing river yesterday when a bridge collapsed after two days of heavy rain in Jiangyou, Sichuan Province. An unknown number of other vehicles and pedestrians were believed to have been crossing the Tongkou River when the bridge fell before noon. Officials said rescue work was under way, but there was no immediate word on casualties. The two-lane Qinglian Bridge was built in 1967 and a replacement span is under construction.
Seth asked for money back
Acclaimed writer Vikram Seth has been asked to return a US$1.7 million advance he was paid by his publisher to write a sequel to his 1993 classic A Suitable Boy, the Mumbai Mirror reported yesterday. The newspaper, quoting Seth’s agent, said the writer was negotiating with publisher Hamish Hamilton following delays in producing the manuscript.
Ex-captives thank supporters
Three women held captive in a Cleveland, Ohio, home for a decade issued a YouTube video on Monday night in which they thanked the public for the encouragement and financial support that is allowing them to restart their lives. The women said the support and prayers of well-wishers is allowing them to rebuild their lives after what Berry called “this entire ordeal.” The women had gone missing separately between 2002 and 2004, when they were 14, 16 and 20 years old. Cleveland resident Ariel Castro has pleaded not guilty to a 329-count indictment alleging he kidnapped them off the streets and held them captive in his two-story home.
Alaska wildfire rages
About 600 people and several sled dogs were evacuated as a massive wildfire in Alaska marched toward homes in communities northeast of Fairbanks, fire officials said on Monday. Heavy plumes of black smoke hampered the ability of firefighters to deploy water-dropping aircraft or make much progress in containing the flames, which spread north and northwest to threaten 750 homes and about 150 other structures. Whipped by strong winds, the so-called Stuart Creek 2 fire grew by 25 percent over the weekend and blackened 259km2 as of Monday morning, said InciWeb, the inter-agency fire information Web site run by the US Forest Service.
Five held over corruption
President Nicolas Maduro said that five officials from a development fund financed by China have been arrested in connection with the alleged embezzlement of US$84 million. In 2008, Caracas and Beijing created the fund to finance projects between the countries. It is run by the state Economic and Social Development Bank of Venezuela. Maduro did not provide details about the alleged embezzlement.
Toilet peeper arrested
A man remained jailed on Monday on a peeping complaint after authorities discovered him inside a septic tank beneath a women’s bathroom at a water park. Kenneth Enslow, 52, was arrested on Sunday after a woman called police. She had taken her seven-year-old daughter to the bathroom and noticed a man looking up at her from inside the toilet, Tulsa County Sheriff’s Major Shannon Clark said. Enslow, who was covered in human waste, was helped from the septic tank by members of the Keystone Fire Department, who sprayed him off with a fire hose and then transported him to a hospital for evaluation, according to a sheriff’s report.
Dogs inspire cancer test
Researchers said on Monday they have devised a test that can detect bladder cancer from odors in the urine. The technique was inspired by reports about how dogs may be able to sniff out certain cancers, said researchers from the University of Liverpool and University of the West of England. If studies can confirm the test’s effectiveness, the technique could offer a new way to test early for a cancer that is often costly to detect and treat.
Snowden bid confirmed
President Nicolas Maduro said on Monday his government had received an asylum application from US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden and the fugitive must now decide if he wants to fly to Caracas. “We have received the asylum request letter,” Maduro told reporters from the presidential palace.