■ South KoreaMan convicted of raping wife
A South Korean court has convicted a man of sexual assault for trying to force his wife to have sex in a landmark decision that challenges a Supreme Court ruling 30 years ago that said a man could not rape his spouse. The criminal court in Seoul on Friday sentenced the 45-year-old man to a 30-month suspended prison term with three years' probation, it said in a state-ment. The man, identified only as Kim, was found guilty of assaulting and injuring his wife in September 2002 when, under the influen-ce of alcohol, he attempted to have sex with her and beat her when she refused.
Deserter avoiding US court
A US Army sergeant accused of deserting to North Korea in 1965 and now hospitalized in Japan is willing to appear before the US military in Japan for a plea bargain, Japanese media reports said on Saturday. Charles Robert Jenkins, 64, was brought to Japan for medical care last month after being reunited with his Japanese wife, Hitomi Soga, and their two daughters in Jakarta on July 9. The United States has said it wants him to face a court-martial but has held off seeking custody while he is in hospital. Kyodo news agency quoted informed sources as saying that Jenkins had told Japanese government officials of his intent to appear before the US Army headquarters in Japan at Camp Zama near Tokyo.
Police stop smuggling ring
Australian police and intelli-gence agents have been waging an undercover campaign to stamp out people-smuggling rings in Indonesia, a news report said Saturday. The sensitive operation, using phone taps and paid infor-mants, has led to the arrest of at least six major people smugg-lers since 2001, The Weekend Australian newspaper report-ed, citing unidentified law enforcement sources. The campaign by Australian Federal Police and the Australian Secret Intelligence Service spy agency -- working in conjunc-tion with Indonesian police -- has prevented at least 7,000 asylum seekers from sailing to Australia, the paper said.
Government okays GM food
In a move that has drawn immediate criticism from some environmentalists, Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has reversed the government's former ban on commercial trade in genetic-ally modified (GM) crops, media reports said yesterday. The Thai Cabinet is scheduled Tuesday to revoke a previous resolution passed on April 3, 2001 that effectively banned commercial use of GM crops except for research purposes, The Nation news-paper said. Local use of GM foods has been opposed by Thai farmers, consumer protection groups and environmentalists, who argue that the prolifer-ation of genetically modified varieties could adversely impact indigenous crops.
Maid abuser jailed
A Singaporean woman who bit, burnt and slashed her Indonesian maid with knives was jailed for 28 months, a newspaper reported Saturday. Mujianti, 19, endured the abuse for three months last year until she finally approached church workers for help. District Court Judge Wong Keen Onn noted that employer Poon Yen Nee, 31, resorted to a "pattern of cruel abuse" whenever she was dissat-isfied with Mujianti's work, The Straits Times said. Poon had made a voluntary contribution of 5,000 Singa-pore dollars (US$2,900) to the maid as a token of remorse.