Ren Jianyu poses for a photograph at a restaurant in Chongqing, China, on Nov. 19, 2012, after being freed from a labor camp. The village official was sentenced to a "re-education through labor" camp after he criticized the government.
China has indicated that it will stop handing down sentences to its controversial labor camps, which allow detention without trial for up to four years. According to Chinese media, some 160,000 prisoners were held in "re-education centers" at the end of 2008.
Critics of the system greeted the announcement — which was slim on details — with cautious optimism.
Pressure to change the system has been mounting after a number of high-profile cases, including that of Ren Jianyu, who had been a young village official.
Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (left) has returned to Italy's political scene in advance of next month's election. Also in the race is the current Prime Minister Mario Monti (right). They are shown here in November 2011 as Monti took over for Berlusconi.
With elections in Italy just weeks away, polls show leftist parties with a comfortable lead. Yet attention is focused on the battle between the former prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, and the current prime minister, Mario Monti, an austere technocrat.
Monti's platform calls for continued austerity, budget cutting and labor reforms.
While Berlusconi and Monti are the two big names in next month's race, the expected winner is the leader of the leftist Democratic Party, Pier Luigi Bersani.
Moments after a deadly attack that turned an Aurora, Colo., movie theater into a scene of panic and tragedy, the police officer who found suspect James Holmes at first took him for a fellow police officer, due to the body armor Holmes was wearing.
But he noticed that Holmes was "just standing there" and had no sense of urgency — despite the pandemonium at the theater, as people continued to stream out.
Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 2:31 pm
While most causes of accidental death are on the decline, drug-related deaths are increasing. This is due in part to the increase of deaths caused by prescription pain medication, like Vicodin or OxyContin. A Los Angeles Times investigative series looks at how doctors are contributing to the trend.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Ari Shapiro in Washington. Neal Conan is away. Well, Congress averted the milk cliff. A five-year farm bill was set to expire, and it could have doubled the price of milk if that had happened. But instead of passing a new five-year plan, Congress extended parts of the old farm bill. That renews subsidies for grain, cotton and soybeans; it cuts budgets for some organic and environmental initiatives.