China will start the trial of a pension insurance system on July 1 this year for jobless urban residents (below left) who are not eligible for any existing programme, the government said. Beijing aims to cover the country's unemployed urban dwellers aged 16 or older, excluding students, by year end. Participants can voluntarily contribute as much as 1,000 yuan (HK$1,200) a year to a life-long pension account. According to the mechanism drawn up by Beijing authorities, local governments should provide at least 30 yuan a year to each account, while the central government will also provide subsidies. Bloomberg
Rewards for China's brightest
Beijing has allocated 10.3 billion yuan (HK$12.3 billion) this year to reward outstanding college students and provide aid to those with financial difficulties. About 400 million yuan will go to 50,000 top students in colleges, and 1.86 billion yuan to 660,000 students who excel in their studies but face financial difficulties. The remaining 8.05 billion will be spent on assistance to 4.44 million needy students. Combined with 6.5 billion yuan of scholarships and grants from local governments, the total expenditure will reach 16.8 billion yuan this year.
Sex crimes hit Australian students
About one in six Australian female university students have been raped, and many more sexually assaulted or harassed, during their life. The findings were contained in a National Union of Students poll of more than 1,500 women studying at university. It found that 17 per cent of respondents had been raped and 12 per cent had experienced attempted rape, although the assaults did not necessarily occur while they were at university. In most cases of sexual assault (56 per cent), the offender was a friend or acquaintance, and in 22 per cent of instances, the woman knew the perpetrator intimately. Rarely were the assaults investigated, with only two per cent of women taking the matter to police.
Wal-Mart violated labour laws
Wal-Mart Stores has lost its appeal of most of a US$188-million (HK$1.47 billion) verdict for Pennsylvania hourly workers who accused the world's largest retailer of denying them meal and rest breaks. The Superior Court of Pennsylvania said there was sufficient evidence for Philadelphia jurors in 2006 to conclude that Wal-Mart's practices violated state wage and hour laws. Meanwhile, the US Supreme Court is expected this month to rule on whether a gender bias lawsuit against Wal-Mart may continue to proceed as a class action on behalf of a group believed to exceed 1.5 million current and former female workers (below right).