Beijing air pollution
The Chinese capital has for many years suffered from serious air pollution. Primary sources of pollutants include exhaust emission from Beijing's more than five million motor vehicles, coal burning in neighbouring regions, dust storms from the north and local construction dust. A particularly severe smog engulfed the city for weeks in early 2013, elevating public awareness to unprecedented levels and prompting the government to roll out emergency measures.
Our editors will be looking ahead today to these developing stories ...
Last chance to have say on pollution
Beijing residents have a last chance today to comment on draft pollution-control regulations intended to help clean up the capital's suffocating smog. Members of the public are being asked to give their views on ideas, including closing some factories temporarily and controlling traffic movement at times of severe air pollution. Drivers could also be fined up to 3,000 yuan (HK$3,700) if their vehicles exceed emission limits.
Five face sentencing for smuggling oil
Five people are sentenced for smuggling to the mainland some 600 million litres of contraband oil worth more than HK$2.6 billion. The five, who faced a joint charge of conspiracy to export unmanifested cargo, denied the charge but were convicted after a lengthy District Court trial. The maximum penalty for smuggling is a HK$2 million fine and seven years' imprisonment.
Fears of clashes at Slovenia rallies
A counter-rally is planned for the first time at Slovenia's anti-austerity protests, triggering fears of clashes and further political instability. A group supporting embattled Prime Minister Janez Jansa has scheduled demonstrations on the same day and at the same venue as the government opponents. They say the move is aimed at promoting tolerance, but opponents see it as a provocation.
Cuban dissident gets passport
Cuban dissident Berta Soler, leader of the group of prisoners' wives called the Women in White, is scheduled to pick up her passport with an eye towards travelling to Panama later this year at the invitation of the Central American nation's government. Fellow dissident Yoani Sanchez is also expecting to get her passport around this time and test Cuba's word that it will let some of its harshest critics go abroad and presumably criticise the Communist government back home.
Figures offer inflation clues
The National Bureau of Statistics releases its January consumer price index and producer price index numbers. The People's Bank of China signalled this week its concern that inflation risks will rise and said monetary easing by nations, including the US and Japan, may push up commodity prices and make capital flows more volatile.
Rugby Union's Cooper gloves up for boxing debut
Australian rugby union ace Quade Cooper swaps the oval ball for gloves as he makes his first foray into professional boxing. Cooper will make his professional boxing debut in a bout against Australian Barry Dunnett, on the undercard of the fight between former dual-code New Zealand international Sonny Bill Williams and South Africa's Francois Botha.