Amid smog crisis, China vows more liveable cities

Updated 22 December 2015
0

Amid smog crisis, China vows more liveable cities

BEIJING: China vowed on Tuesday that it would make “liveable” cities a central goal of China’s urban planning, amid persistent problems over choking smog that frequently blankets the populous east and north.
Under a plan released after what leaders dubbed the Central Urban Work Conference and overseen by President Xi Jinping, urban development should be focused on “creating environments where people can live in harmony with each other and nature.”
“The government will take a more sophisticated approach to its urban planning and encourage enterprises and citizens to participate in creating the cities of the future,” according to a statement released by the official Xinhua news agency.
Nature and tradition should be respected in city planning and a low-carbon concept prioritised, the report added.
“Urban construction should take nature as beauty,” it said.
Green belts and bodies of water should be established around cities and sprawl controlled, Xinhua added.
China has vowed repeatedly over the years to tackle pollution and yet none of its plans have has had a lasting effect.
Capital city Beijing has already issued two “red alerts” for smog this winter, which see cars taken off roads and schools and factories closed.
A red alert is triggered when the government believes air quality will surpass a level of 200 on an index that measures various pollutants for at least three days. The US government deems a level of more than 200 to be “very unhealthy.”
Since the end of last week, a swathe of northern China has been hit by severe air pollution, including the province of Hebei which surrounds Beijing and the nearby conurbation of Tianjin.


Maldives arrests ex-leader Yameen for money laundering

Updated 18 February 2019
0

Maldives arrests ex-leader Yameen for money laundering

  • No comment from Yameen or his legal team yet
  • The court already froze the ex-president’s local bank accounts containing $6.5 million

MALÉ, Maldives: Maldivian authorities Monday ordered the arrest of former strongman president Abdulla Yameen over money laundering charges, officials said.
The arrest came after a court began a preliminary hearing into allegations that Yameen received nearly $1.5 million in illicit payments just before he lost his re-election bid in September.
“Prosecutors said that Yameen had allegedly attempted to bribe witnesses,” a court official said, adding that the former president would be taken to the Dhoonidhoo prison island near the capital.
Yameen, who came to power in 2013 and jailed many of his opponents or forced them into exile, had been summoned to the Criminal Court Sunday to formally receive his indictment.
During his five-year tenure, Yameen relied heavily on China for political and financial support as he came under criticism over his dismal human rights record.
The Indian Ocean archipelago nation of 340,000 Sunni Muslims is heavily in debt to China.
Authorities believe millions of dollars allegedly siphoned off by Yameen could be stashed abroad, and have said that talks are underway with foreign entities to repatriate any cash found.
The court has already frozen Yameen’s local bank accounts holding about $6.5 million, a decision the former leader has contested.
There was no immediate comment from Yameen or his legal team on the latest court order.