Airport bomber on trial
A paralyzed former taxi driver has gone on trial for endangering public safety by setting off an explosion at Beijing’s airport. His lawyer said yesterday that 33-year-old Ji Zhongxing (冀中星) was only seeking attention for his grievances and did not intend to detonate the blast or hurt anyone. The explosion two months ago injured only Ji, who already had been paralyzed in what he said was a beating by city officials in Guangdong Province in 2005. He appeared in court on a stretcher, still suffering from injuries received in the blast. The trial in a Beijing district court lasted about three hours and the verdict was expected later. Ji faces three to 10 years in prison.
The Chongqing High Court yesterday upheld a guilty verdict and sentence against a former city official at the heart of a sex tape scandal. Lei Zhengfu (雷政富) was convicted in June of accepting more than 3 million yuan (US$500,000) in bribes from a developer to pay off a businessman who was using the tape to blackmail him. He appealed, but the court said it upheld Lei’s 13-year prison sentence and the seizure of 300,000 yuan of his assets along with the bribes he took.
Polluted water dumped
Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) said it dumped more than 1,000 tonnes of polluted water into the sea after Typhoon Man-yi raked the Fukishima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant on Monday. Rain swamped enclosure walls around clusters of water tanks containing toxic water that was used to cool broken reactors. “Workers measured the radioactive levels of the water collected in the enclosure walls, pumping it back into tanks when the levels were high,” a TEPCO official said. “Once finding it was mostly rain water they released it from the enclosure, because there is a limit on how much water we can store.” However, it said that at one site where water was found contaminated beyond the safety limit workers could not start the water pump quick enough in the torrential rain, and toxic water had leaked from the enclosure for several minutes.
Teen, 13, pursuing master’s
A 13-year-old girl is pursuing a master’s degree in microbiology after her father sold his land to pay for her tuition. Sushma Verma says she was able to finish high school at seven and undergraduate studies at 13 only with the sacrifices of her uneducated parents. They live with her three younger siblings in a room in Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh state, and live off her father’s daily wage of up to 200 rupees (less than US$3.50) for construction work. Her father sold 930m2 of land for 25,000 rupees to cover some of her school fees. The rest will come from a charity.
Villagers admit to lynching
Hundreds of villagers have signed a petition admitting taking part in the lynching of two suspected dog-snatchers in August last year, state media reported on Monday. The petition is an apparent attempt to prevent police singling out seven villagers accused of killing the two men, who were allegedly caught trying to sell dogs to local restaurants. An official from the Danh Thang commune said the petiton had drawn “hundreds of signatories” because “hundreds of people attacked the thieves” rather than the seven under suspicion, according to Thanh Nien newspaper.
Sanctions hit Web site
A US Web-hosting company has shut the Web site of an opposition leader held under house arrest in Tehran to comply with US sanctions, underscoring the unintended impacts of some of the curbs imposed on the Islamic republic. Washington has imposed sanctions restricting US entities’ trade with and provision of services to the country in a dispute over Tehran’s nuclear program. Hosting company Just Host last month shut down the Web site of Mehdi Karoubi, a reformist cleric, his former aide Mohammed Hossein Ziya said.
Cat may head to space
The country’s hunt for its next animal astronaut may turn to the distinctive and locally named Persian cat, a senior space program official, Mohammed Ebrahimi, said on Monday. The report by the official IRNA news agency comes seven months after the country claimed it launched a monkey out of Earth’s atmosphere and successfully returned it home. Ebrahimi said Iran’s next space capsule could carry a Persian cat, a long-haired, flat-faced breed named after the country’s former name of Persia. The report said a mouse and rabbit are also under consideration.
Celebrities pose Web danger
If you are curious about Lily Collins and head to the Internet to find out, beware — McAfee has ranked the actress as the most dangerous celebrity to search for online. Collins — who starred in movies such as Mirror, Mirror and The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones — posed the biggest risk of landing on a malicious site, according to the computer security company; last year Emma Watson topped the list. Female celebrities were the overwhelming lure to malware. Avril Lavigne, Sandra Bullock, Kathy Griffin and Zoe Saldana rounded out the top five; Mad Men star Jon Hamm was the only man in the top 10. A person could be led to malware after doing a general search and clicking on dubious links, but risks increased when searchers added phrases like “free apps” or “nude photos.”
Syrian helicopter shot down
A fighter jet shot down a Syrian military helicopter on Monday after it entered the country’s airspace and ignored repeated warnings to leave, an official said. The helicopter strayed 2km over the border, but crashed inside Syria after being hit by missiles fired from the jet, Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said in Ankara. Arinc said he did not have any information on the fate of the Syrian pilots, but Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director Rami Abdul-Rahman said rebel fighters captured one of the pilots, while the fate of the other one was unclear.
Lawyer speaks of Snowden
US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden is living under guard at a secret location, but is able to travel incognito and is expecting family visits, his lawyer in the country said in excerpts from a televised interview published on Monday by news agencies. “No one is being told his place of residence. This is done on his request because we understand that the level of danger is quite high,” Anatoly Kucherena told RT TV in an interview, the Interfax news agency reported ahead of the broadcast. Snowden has remained hidden from view since he was granted temporary asylum on Aug. 1. “He walks around. He can travel. He does travel, because he is interested in our history,” Kucherena said.