- - Thursday, December 27, 2012

INDIA

NEW DELHI — Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pledged Thursday to take action to protect the nation’s women while the young victim of a gang rape on a New Delhi bus was flown to Singapore for treatment of severe internal injuries.

The Dec. 16 rape and brutal beating of the 23-year-old student triggered widespread protests, including a march Thursday demanding a government crackdown on the daily harassment Indian women face, ranging from groping to severe violence.

Some protesters have called for the death penalty or castration for rapists, who under current laws face a maximum punishment of life imprisonment.

Rape victims rarely press charges because of social stigma and fear they will be accused of inviting the attack.

Many women say they structure their lives around protecting themselves and their daughters from attack.

Mr. Singh’s government set up two committees in response to the protests. One, looking into speeding up sexual assault trials, already has received 6,100 email suggestions.

The second will examine what lapses might have contributed to the rape — which took place on a moving bus that passed through police checkpoints — and suggest measures to improve women’s safety.

CHINA

China tightens controls to deter self-immolations

BEIJING — Chinese authorities are tightening controls in an ethnic Tibetan region where at least 10 people set themselves on fire and hundreds demonstrated last month to protest Chinese rule, a news report said Thursday.

Huangnan prefecture in western China’s Qinghai province is increasing security and taking steps to shield the area from outside influence to deter self-immolations, the state-run, Web-based Qinghai News reported.

The local government also will use economic rewards and punishments to crack down on the practice.

China has blamed exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and his associates for the self-immolations in Qinghai and other Tibetan regions.

But supporters of Tibetan rights say the fault lies with Beijing’s oppressive rule of the Himalayan region.

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