- - Wednesday, September 1, 2010

CHINA

ID required to buy mobile phone numbers

BEIJING | China began requiring identification on Wednesday from anyone purchasing a new mobile phone number in what it says is a bid to stamp out rampant junk messages but that some say gives the government a new tool for monitoring its citizens.

The rules apply to everyone, including foreigners visiting China for a short stay, the China Daily newspaper reported.

The paper said the regulation was “the latest campaign by the government to curb the global scourge of spam, pornographic messages and fraud on cellular phones.”

But some say China is looking for a way to track people who might spontaneously join protests. Users could previously buy low-cost mobile phone SIM cards anonymously with cash at convenience stores and newspaper stands and use them right away.

NETHERLANDS

Authorities release Yemeni suspects

THE HAGUE | Two Yemeni men arrested on arrival from the United States on suspicion they may have been conducting a dry run for an airline terrorist attack were released without charge Wednesday after investigations turned up no evidence to link them to a terrorism plot, Dutch prosecutors said.

The national prosecutor’s office said in a statement on its website that because of the lack of evidence “there is no reason to hold the men any longer.”

Ahmed Mohamed Nasser al Soofi and Hezam al Murisi were arrested by airport police Monday in Amsterdam on a United Airlines flight from Chicago following a request from U.S. law enforcement officials.

The whereabouts of the two men following their release was not known. Their attorneys could not be reached for comment.

MEXICO

Second migrant survived massacre

MEXICO CITY | A second migrant survived the massacre of 72 Central and South Americans near the border with the U.S., Mexican authorities confirmed Wednesday, and they said he has given information that helped their investigation.

Authorities had kept secret the information about the other survivor, a Honduran, to protect him, said Attorney General’s Office spokesman Ricardo Najera.

As of Tuesday, the only survivor known publicly was Ecuadorean Luis Freddy Lala Pomavilla, 18, who escaped and alerted Mexican marines. They found the bodies Aug. 24 on a ranch in Tamaulipas state just about 100 miles from the Texas border.

But Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa said Tuesday that Mr. Lala told authorities there was another survivor. Mr. Lala returned to his country over the weekend and is in a witness-protection program.

Authorities suspect the Zetas, a drug gang that dominates parts of the northern state of Tamaulipas, killed the migrants after they refused to smuggle drugs.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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