Islamabad, Dec 12 (IANS) Two Pakistani soldiers were killed and two were injured Wednesday when unidentified militants fired at an army vehicle in the country’s northwest tribal region, media reports said.
Official sources told Urdu TV channel Dawn that the gunmen opened fire at a vehicle used by a military-run construction company, the Frontier Works Organization, in Miran Shah area of North Waziristan.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Following the incident, the administration of North Waziristan imposed curfew in the area.
Islamabad, Dec 12 (IANS) At least two policemen were killed and eight people injured Wednesday in a blast that rocked a restaurant in Pakistan’s port city of Karachi, media reports said.
The blast occurred around 5.30 p.m. outside the restaurant in Landhi area, Xinhua reported citing Dunya TV.
Witnesses told local media the bomb may have been detonated by remote control.
At least two of the injured are in critical condition.
The restaurant and two motorbikes were destroyed in the blast while several nearby shops were damaged.
Iqbal Mahmood, additional inspector general of Sindh Police, earlier said that over 100 policemen have been killed in attacks in Karachi this year.
Beijing, Dec 12 (IANS) With prisoners in Beijing jails allowed to meet family members in reward for good behaviour, they can now even place orders online for meals they want to share with their loved ones.
Feng Jiancang, head of the Human Rights in Justice office at the Institute for Crime Prevention under the ministry of justice, said the system of ordering online meals frees up more time for the inmates to meet their families.
Inmates can also use the system to buy goods in prison supermarkets, now available in all prisons in the city, Xinhua reported.
Last year, the ministry lifted bans on homosexuality, dyed hair and other lifestyles and practices that were previously not allowed in prisons.
Kabul, Dec 12 (IANS) US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta Wednesday paid an unannounced visit to Afghanistan to consult with NATO military commanders and President Hamid Karzai about the future role of the US in the country as coalition troops pull out by 2014, media reports said.
During his stay in Afghanistan, Panetta will hold talks with top commanders of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) stationed in the country, Xinhua reported citing private TV channel Tolo.
The US has reportedly decided to keep some of its troops in Afghanistan after 2014 when the ISAF leaves the conflict-ridden nation after handing over charge to Afghan forces. Around 68,000 US troops remain in Afghanistan.
“I look forward to a first-hand view. This will help me as we set the groundwork for the decisions that have to be made by the president with regards to our enduring presence,” the Washington Post quoted Panetta as saying.
Panetta, a former CIA director who has visited Afghanistan eight times in the past four years, said he was heartened by what he described as signs of progress.
“It is clear to me that we are today in a far better place than we were four years ago, despite some very real challenges that remain in the region,” he said.
The challenges include endemic corruption, weak governance, insurgent safe havens in Pakistan and “a resilient Taliban”, he said.
Beijing, Dec 12 (IANS) Leaders of both China and India believe there is enough space in the world for the common development of both countries, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Wednesday.
Hong said at a regular press briefing that cooperative areas are also sufficient for the world’s two largest developing countries, Xinhua reported.
Hong made the remarks in response to India’s External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid’s recent comments on India-China relations.
According to media reports, Khurshid said earlier this week that as China and India convert their relationship into a meaningful partnership, India will have to accept the new reality of China’s presence in areas that India considers to be exclusive to India and its friends.
Khurshid said greater collaboration between India and China will define Asia’s role in the 21st century.
According to Hong, sustainable, stable and healthy China-India ties will not only benefit both peoples but will also help to maintain peace, stability and prosperity in Asia and the world at large.
He said China is willing to work with India so as to implement the consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries and engage in developing a bilateral strategic and cooperative partnership featuring equality, mutual trust and cooperation.
Beijing, Dec 12 (IANS) Chinese metropolis Guangzhou is now handing out 10,000 yuan in cash to car owners who purchase vehicles powered by new, alternative energy sources.
Out of 17,880 new licence plates approved by the government in the populated southern city, over 1,200 are earmarked for “green cars”, the People’s Daily reported.
However, car sellers said the cash incentive was still not enough to lure buyers.
“On an average, we sell two to three cars per month, but altogether we have only sold 10 green cars so far. Not that many,” said Yu Weitao, a sales consultant.
Some of the main challenges customers face are price and support facilities.
He, a Guangzhou resident, said new energy cars were “pretty expensive”, and refilling petrol and recharging electricity “are big problems now”.
In Shenzhen, a city down south from Guangzhou, a new green car is being sold at 170,000 yuan. Buyers are also entitled to 80,000 yuan worth of subsidy, putting the car price at only 90,000 yuan.
Beijing, Dec 12 (IANS) Chinese authorities are investigating a kindergarten after the school launched its so-called “hug fee”, asking parents to cough up money for their children to get hugs from teachers.
Parents were being asked to pay the fee so that their children at the Jiangdu District Shangmao Kindergarten are hugged by teachers when they arrive in the morning and again when they leave, the Shanghai Daily reported.
The school in Yangzhou city charged 80 yuan ($12) per month per child for the hug.
News about the hug charges was posted online, and parents were told by teachers that hugging will put their children in a good mood.
The kindergarten explained that the service was part of a “quality education trial” to show that children feel loved and have their confidence raised when they receive hugs from teachers.
But local education authorities said such a practice violates rules and the kindergarten should return the money to parents.
Beijing, Dec 12 (IANS) A man in China has been sentenced to death for killing a provincial legislator with a poisonous herb dubbed “heartbreak grass” after stealing large amounts of money from the victim.
Huang Guang, a former deputy head of an agricultural office in Yangchun of Guangdong province, was convicted of both fraud and murder, the Shanghai Daily reported.
A court ruled that Huang decided to kill Long Liyuan, after swindling around 1.4 million yuan from Long, who headed a wood processing company.
Long went to lunch with Huang and a friend to a restaurant Dec 23, 2011, when Huang asked the owner of the restaurant to prepare cat meat soup and sneaked into the kitchen, where he put gelsemium elegan, a poisonous herb also known as “heartbreak grass” into the soup.
He soaked the toxic herbs for a few minutes and threw them away.
Long said the soup tasted bitter, but Huang persuaded him to eat it saying it might have been made with extra Chinese medicines or that the gallbladder of the cat was torn.
All three, including Huang himself, ate the cat meat soup and began to throw up.
Long, who ate more than the other two, died, and Huang and the other man survived after medical treatment.
Beijing, Dec 12 (IANS) A woman in China hired hitmen to kill her multi-millionaire businessman husband after he allegedly subjected her to domestic abuse, a Chinese daily said Wednesday.
Police in central China’s Hubei province said the 44-year-old woman, surnamed Yang, promised to pay two men one million yuan ($160,000) to murder her husband, also 44, the Shanghai Daily reported.
The men were caught on surveillance cameras entering the husband’s art gallery in Yichang city Nov 25 and leaving just two minutes later.
A gallery employee found the businessman, surnamed Wang, the next morning dead. His throat was found slashed.
There were no signs of a robbery and none of the paintings in the gallery was touched.
Police found that Wang had asked his wife for a divorce but she refused as she suspected he had a mistress and was unwilling to divide the family assets despite the alleged domestic violence she claimed to have suffered.
Beijing, Dec 12 (IANS) Ten people, including a woman, were arrested in China Wednesday for spreading rumours about the end of the world, and asking people to join a cult to survive the apocalypse.
Four people were held on charges of disturbing public order as they spread the doomsday rumours on the streets of Fuzhou, capital of Fujian province, the Shanghai Daily reported.
In Quanzhou city in the same province, six people were detained for cheating innocent people of money using the doomsday excuse.
The four in Fuzhou were accused of distributing pink leaflets, saying doomsday was near.
They also handed out red dates and walnuts, as their Chinese pronunciation sounds like “escape in time”, police said.
The accused also invited people to write down their names, phone numbers and addresses on a so-called “Life Book” to sign up as member of their cult.
Police said they were from an organisation that paid them to attract new members.
Around 34 middle-aged women were also held for spreading rumours in public.
Beijing, Dec 12 (IANS) A Chinese man has been jailed after he was found guilty of kidnapping an official in a bid to demolish a public toilet built in front of his house.
The accused held the deputy head of a county captive for 10 hours, the China Daily reported Wednesday.
Zhang Xiaowei, who kidnapped Li Yibo, deputy head of Yunhe county in Zhejiang province, was also fined 30,000 yuan.
In May, Zhang held Li captive in a room at the compound of the Communist party’s county office, and demanded that the government demolish a toilet built in front of his house.
Police stormed the room and freed Li before subduing Zhang.
Zhang’s lawyer said the act did not constitute kidnapping but was rather an illegal detention for petitioning.
Two years ago, Zhang was sentenced to two years in prison after being found guilty of putting up posters on government buildings against the authorities.
Zhang was Tuesday sentenced to 11 years in prison, but said he will appeal to a higher court.
* Dec 13, 2001: Five terrorists enter the parliament complex and open indiscriminate fire, killing nine people and injuring over 15.
* Dec 15, 2001: Delhi Police pick up Afzal Guru, a member of terrorist outfit Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM), from Jammu and Kashmir. S.A.R. Geelani of Delhi University’s Zakir Hussain College picked up for questioning and later arrested. Two others – Afsan Guru and her husband Shaukat Hussain Guru – were picked up later.
* Dec 20, 2001: The IAF chief, Air Chief Marshal A.Y. Tipnis, asks station commanders in the country’s western sector to maintain “operational preparedness keeping in view the present security environment” while the army gears itself for scheduled training exercises in the first half of January in Rajasthan and Punjab.
* Dec 21, 2001: India recalls its high commissioner for Pakistan following Islamabad’s refusal to initiate action against terrorist groups – Lashkar-e-Tayiba and Jaish-e-Muhammed – whom the government blamed for the attack.
* Dec 23, 2001: Three Indian soldiers killed in an ambush by Pakistan Rangers in the Samba sector (in the Jammu region). This sparks off heavy exchange of fire across the International Border in Jammu region.
* Dec 24, 2001: Indian troops destroy nearly 21 Pakistani bunkers along the Line of Control while Pakistan cancels leave for troops and recalls all its military personnel on leave.
* Dec 25, 2001: Under immense international pressure, the Pakistan government arrests JeM chief Maulana Masood Azhar.
* Dec 29, 2001: Afzal Guru sent to 10 days’ police remand.
* June 4, 2002: Charges are framed against four people – Afzal Guru, Geelani, Shaukat Hussain Guru, Afsan Guru and Geelani.
* Dec 18, 2002: Death sentence awarded to S.A.R. Geelani, Shaukat Hussain Guru and Afzal Guru, while Afsan Guru is let off.
*Aug 30, 2003: Jaish-e-Muhammad leader Ghazi Baba, prime accused in the attack, is killed in an encounter with the Border Security Force (BSF) in Srinagar. Three more militants along with him are also killed in the 10-hour encounter.
* Oct 29, 2003: Geelani acquitted in the case.
* Aug 4, 2005: The Supreme Court, while confirming the death sentence of Afzal Guru, commutes Shaukat Hussain Guru’s death sentence to 10 years’ rigourous imprisonment.
* Sep 26, 2006: Delhi court orders Afzal to be hanged.
* Oct 3, 2006: Afzal Guru’s wife Tabasum Guru files a mercy petition with then president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.
* Jan 12, 2007: The Supreme Court dismisses Afzal Guru’s plea seeking review of his death sentence, saying “there is no merit” in it.
* Dec 30, 2010: Shaukat Hussain Guru released from Delhi’s Tihar Jail.
*Dec 10, 2012: Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde says he would examine Afzal Guru’s file after parliament’s winter session concludes Dec 22.