Party will not tolerate corruption, China told
China’s outgoing President Hu Jintao has told the Chinese Communist Party that it needs to stamp out corruption if it is to remain as strong as it has for the past 10 years.
“We have too many state-owned enterprises which are very inefficient and too many monopoly industries,” he told the 2000-strong party congress.
Any person found to be corrupt would be brought to justice, he said – an indirect reference to the disgraced former provincial leader Bo Xilai, who has been expelled from the party. Earlier this year Bo’s wife was jailed for poisoning a British businessman, Neil Heywood.
President Hu is due to step down from office at this congress, as will other leaders, a transition that occurs only once in a decade. Their replacements were chosen in secret but are now known. Next week Xi Jinping will replace Mr Hu as leader.
New York at odds and evens over fuel
A system of “odds and evens” in rationing, not seen in the US for 40 years, is being resurrected to deal with a shortage of fuel in New York state.
Just a week after America’s east coast was pounded by Hurricane Sandy, a strong north-easterly has dumped snow over New York and New Jersey, where many homes are still without power.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that licence plates ending in even numbers can fill up on even days. Those ending with odd numbers, or containing letters, can fill up on odd days. Public and emergency vehicles are exempt from the system, which is to be enforced by police.
“This is not a step we take lightly. But given [petrol] shortages and the growing frustrations of New Yorkers, we believe it’s the right step,” he said.
Syrian leader to stay put
Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad has told Russian TV he will remain in his country and has no intention of fleeing abroad.
His reaction came after British Prime Minister David Cameron said there was a chance Mr al-Assad could be granted safe passage out of Syria in an effort to stop the violence.
Mr Assad warned that any invasion by American troops could only result in more violence and increase instability in the region.
Death toll from Guatemala quake rises to 52
The death toll from a magnitude 7.4 earthquake that shook Guatemala on Wednesday has risen to 52. Dozens remain missing, believed trapped inside toppled buildings.
Amid frequent aftershocks, residents lack drinking water, electricity and telephone connections.
The earthquake, struck just off the Pacific coast and was felt across Guatemala and even in Mexico City, 1000 kilometres away. – Louis Miles