IN BRIEF (Page 2)

Updated: 2013-12-01 06:48

(China Daily)

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Rural future mapped out

The 2013 National Forum for Village Heads opened in Fengyang county, Anhui province, on Saturday as more than 500 village officials and experts on rural issues are meeting to discuss rural reform in the wake of the Third Plenary Session of 18th CPC Central Committee held in early November. This year's forum carries the theme of "advancing the reform's spirit and building a beautiful countryside" and is featured in keynote speeches by experts from the Development Research Center of the State Council and village heads from the richest villages. The forum, the only national-level communication platform for village heads, has previously been held 12 times.


Chang'e 3 lunar probe to launch

China will launch the Chang'e 3 lunar probe at 1:30 am on Monday from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, the mission's launch headquarters said on Saturday. It will be the first time for China to send a spacecraft for a soft landing on the surface of an extraterrestrial body. It will conduct surveys on the moon. The probe will be launched to orbit aboard an enhanced Long March 3B carrier. Chang'e 3 comprises a lander and a moon rover called Yutu (Jade Rabbit). The lunar probe will land on the moon in mid-December, according to the plan. Tasks for Yutu include surveying the moon's geology and surface substances.


Man sentenced to life

A man has been sentenced to life in prison for orchestrating a Ponzi scheme involving more than 30 million yuan ($4.9 million), a court in Zhejiang province said on Saturday. Wang Xiaoqing, 30, collected money by offering double-digit interest rates, the Intermediate People's Court in the city of Quzhou said. Wang told investors that the funds would be used to build a hotel. Most of the money was spent on paying interest and on Wang's extravagant lifestyle, the court said. According to the court's order, all of Wang's properties will be confiscated and money collected from the scheme will be returned to investors.


US apologizes over air strike

The United States has apologized over its drone strike on Afghanistan's southern province of Helmand last Thursday in which a small child was killed and two women were injured. The apology was delivered in a phone call to Afghan President Hamid Karzai late on Thursday by marine General Joseph Dunford, the top US and NATO commander in Afghanistan. Dunford also promised an immediate NATO investigation into the incident, which comes at a time when Washington and Kabul are finalizing a deal allowing US troops to remain in Afghanistan after 2014. Karzai refuses to sign the pact, seeking further assurances from the US.


Pakistan PM 'committed to peace'

Pakistan's prime minister says the recent release of a senior Taliban leader shows he is committed to helping bring peace to Afghanistan. Nawaz Sharif said after meeting in Kabul with Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Saturday that an agreement had been reached for members of an Afghan peace council to continue talks with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who was released from Pakistani detention last September. The Taliban's former No 2 was set free after years in detention, and some officials hope he can help jumpstart the peace process.


34 killed in plane crash

A Chinese passenger was among 34 people killed when a Mozambique Airlines plane en route to Angola crashed in a game park in northeastern Namibia killing all on board, Namibian police said on Saturday. Flight TM 470 left Maputo on Friday for the Angolan capital of Luanda with 28 passengers and six crew members onboard when it lost contact with air traffic controllers. Namibian Police Force Deputy Commissioner Willy Bampton said rescue workers had found burned-out wreckage of the aircraft in the dense bush of Bwabwata National Park, near the borders with Angola and Botswana. In a statement on its website, Mozambique Airlines listed the nationalities of the passengers on Flight TM470 as 10 Mozambicans, nine Angolans, five Portuguese, one French, one Brazilian and one Chinese. The flight left the Mozambican capital of Maputo at 11:26 am on Friday and had been due to arrive in Luanda at 2 pm.

China Daily - Xinhua - Reuters

(China Daily 12/01/2013 page2)