Around the Nation
91 held in raid on illegal casino
HEBEI - Police in Shijiazhuang have detained 91 people during a raid on an underground casino in an abandoned mine, Xinhua reports. More than 100 police officers took part in the raid. They confiscated 200,000 yuan (HK$227,000) and seized 26 vehicles. Gamblers had been using the mine since the beginning of the month.
Miners tunnel through Great Wall
INNER MONGOLIA - Two gold miners were detained for damaging a section of the Great Wall near Hohhot, capital of the Inner Mongolia, this month, Xinhua reports. The two men, who were prospecting, allegedly drilled two tunnels through the wall, which was built during the Qin dynasty (221-206BC). The tunnels ran for about 100 metres and were five metres deep. Damage to key state relics can be punished with a 500,000 yuan fine or 10 years' jail.
Police fail to stop bullying
HAINAN - A 14-year-old was repeatedly beaten by a local gang in Haikou for a year and police failed to intervene, Hinews.cn reports. The boy's family said the trouble began a year ago when he protected a friend in a school fight. Since then, the gang would throw bricks at him on his way to school and on one occasion beat him outside his classroom. The family had reported the problem repeatedly to police, who said they were unable to track down the gang.
Gang cleans out supermarket
HUBEI - Thieves in Wuhan stole the entire stock of a supermarket on Wednesday night, the Wuhan Evening News reports. A supermarket worker said thieves smashed two holes in the side of the building, and 20 men emptied the shelves onto trucks. A nearby snack bar also reported losses on the same night. Police were investigating.
Urgent order on toilet breaks
HENAN - An emergency notice by Zhengzhou education authorities urges primary and middle schools to allow students to take toilet breaks during lessons, the Zhengzhou Daily reports. Teachers must allow students to use toilets during class to prevent jammed corridors during breaks. A stampede at a school in Hunan on Monday killed eight students.
Costly liquor to get even dearer
HUNAN - One of the most expensive mainland liquor brands is about to get even more pricey, the Nanfang Daily reports. Distributors of Guizhou -based Maotai have been told the wholesale price would rise 13 per cent after the New Year. Maotai is a favourite at official banquets, with a standard 500 millilitre bottle costing 800 yuan before the price rise.
Authorities push solar power
FUJIAN - Housing authorities in Fuzhou plan to accelerate the installation of solar energy facilities, the Southeast Express reports. From next year, new buildings under 12 storeys must be equipped with solar water heating systems. Government subsidies would be offered for old buildings or those higher than 12 storeys. Some residents were worried that the 'green policy' would push up housing prices. The average price per square metre was nearly 9,000 yuan this month, or nearly half of the average annual income.
Urumqi-Kazakhstan line to open
XINJIANG - A passenger service will soon operate on a new rail line linking Urumqi and Kazakhstan, Xinhua reports. Two new routes will connect the city with Karaganda, a coal production centre, this month. The journey will take 36 hours.
Tang dynasty street resurfaces
SHAANXI - Archaeologists have unearthed a Tang dynasty street in downtown Xian , the Huashang Daily reports. The street was more than seven metres wide and over 1,000 years old. Wheel tracks and a drainage system were perfectly preserved. Researchers also found a dozen wells used by families living along the street - and some even contained water. The discovery was made when a developer tore down an old apartment building.
Vegetable prices hit decade high
GANSU - Residents of Lanzhou are suffering from the highest vegetable prices in more than a decade, the Western Business News reports. Some of the most popular vegetables are costlier by nearly 40 per cent year on year. Price rises were blamed on the early snowfall that ruined the late harvest, a drought in the south that increased the costs of imports, and rising fuel prices driving up transport expenses.