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From The Asian Reporter, V28, #16 (August 20, 2018), page 2.

Japan queries medical schools on gender discrimination

TOKYO (AP) — The Japanese government is investigating whether other medical schools also discriminated against female applicants following revelations that one had done so for more than a decade. The Education Ministry sent a questionnaire to all of Japan’s medical schools asking them for six years of data on the gender and age of those who applied, of those who passed the entrance exam, and of those who were admitted. It set a deadline of August 24 for responses. A Tokyo medical school released an internal investigation that confirmed media reports that it had altered entrance exam scores to limit the number of female students. Tokyo Medical University said it believed female doctors would shorten or halt their careers if they had children, affecting staffing at school-affiliated hospitals.

China sentences six in graduate exam cheating scheme

BEIJING (AP) — Six people have been imprisoned for up to four years for their part in a scheme to cheat on China’s national graduate school exam, according to state media. Exam takers were provided with wireless transmitters and receivers and told to read the questions out loud, according to reports. Researchers off-site would then find the answers in textbooks and read them to the test takers through the receivers. Among those sentenced were two exam takers who helped recruit clients. It wasn’t clear how much the cheaters paid for the service or what punishment they received, although permanent disqualification from the exams is the usual sanction in such cases. The six plaintiffs were sentenced to between 20 months and four years and fined up to 40,000 yuan ($5,900). They could have faced as much as seven years in prison under a 2015 amendment to the law. Exam scores make up the overwhelming preponderance of criteria for acceptance in the Chinese education system from early education onward.

Boy is only survivor of light plane crash in east Indonesia

JAYAPURA, Indonesia (AP) — A 12-year-old boy is the only survivor from the crash of a light commercial plane in a mountainous region of Indonesia’s easternmost province of Papua that left eight other passengers dead, according to rescuers. The Swiss-made Pilatus PC-6 Porter single-engine plane operated by Dimonin Air was reported missing during a 45-minute flight from Tanah Merah in Boven Digul district to Oksibil, the district capital of Pegunungan Bintang, bordering Papua New Guinea. The local army chief said the plane crashed near Oksibil airport. Col. Jonathan Binsar Sianipar said the boy, identified only as Jumaidi, was the only passenger found alive and was evacuated to the Oksibil hospital. A statement from the army said the boy was conscious but gave no other details. The plane with two pilots and seven passengers lost contact after communicating with the control tower in Oksibil just before it was due to land, said local police chief Lt. Col. Michael Mumbunan. The cause of the crash was not clear. Airplanes are the only practical way of accessing many areas in the mountainous and jungle-clad easternmost provinces of Papua and West Papua. Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago nation, with more than 260 million people, has been plagued by transportation accidents on land, sea, and air because of overcrowding on ferries, aging infrastructure, and poorly enforced safety standards.

China newspaper defends Xinjiang Muslim crackdown

BEIJING (AP) — An official Communist Party newspaper is defending China’s campaign of pressure and internment against the country’s Uighur Muslim minority, saying it had prevented the far-northwestern region of Xinjiang from "becoming ‘China’s Syria’ or ‘China’s Libya.’" The Global Times editorial came after a U.N. anti-discrimination committee raised concerns over China’s treatment of Uighurs, citing reports of mass detentions that it said "resembles a massive internment camp that is shrouded in secrecy." Following attacks by radical Muslim separatists, hundreds of thousands of members of the Uighur and Kazakh Muslim minorities in Xinjiang have been arbitrarily detained in indoctrination camps where they are forced to denounce Islam and profess loyalty to the party. The Global Times said that was merely "a phase that Xinjiang has to go through in rebuilding peace and prosperity."

South Korea bans driving BMWs under recall due to fires

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea has banned driving recalled BMWs that haven’t received safety checks following dozens of fires the German automaker has blamed on a faulty exhaust gas component. South Korea’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport said the ban affects about 20,000 vehicles. Drivers cannot use the cars except for taking them to safety checks. While violating the ban is punishable by up to one year in prison, the ministry said the focus is on persuading drivers to take their vehicles for safety checks as soon as possible. However, the government is "aggressively" pursuing charges against drivers if their vehicles catch fire after continuously defying the ban, ministry official Kim Gyeong-wook said. Nearly 40 fires of BMW vehicles this year are suspected to have been caused by engine problems. Images and videos of BMW sedans engulfed in smoke and gutted by fires caused alarm among drivers. Some parking lots reportedly refused to allow in BMW drivers and other drivers said they were trying to avoid BMWs on the road. In July, BMW recalled about 106,000 vehicles of 42 different models. The company identified the cause of the engine fires as leaks in their exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) coolers, which it said caused fires when the vehicles were driven at high speeds for long periods of time. The ministry said about 27,000 recalled cars hadn’t received safety checks, but it expected a portion of them to be checked before the ban goes into effect.