Mothers call for change
Families of victims of the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown have called on the government to renounce violent oppression of human rights. The call from the Tiananmen Mothers, led by Ding Zilin (丁子霖) and other family members of demonstrators killed in the June 4, 1989 crackdown, comes just ahead of the opening of the annual session of parliament. "Please show courage and determination to stop all atrocities that oppress human rights around the country," the group said in an open letter seen yesterday.
Divorce causes discovered
The first large-scale study issued yesterday on the soaring number of divorces identified top risk factors for failed marriage -- hasty courtship and long hours at work. The arrival of a baby when a couple are unprepared for parenthood was also a key factor. The number of divorces in the city-state rose from 2,313 in 1983 to a record 6,561 in 2003, according to the study commissioned by the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports. In 2004, the latest figures available showed 6,388 couples divorcing.
Missile names are no insult
Pakistan said on Monday that Afghans should not be offended that it is naming its nuclear-capable missiles after Afghan heroes because the two countries have a shared history and common heroes. "It is not to insult them but to acknowledge their contribution," Pakistan's foreign ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam told a weekly briefing. Kabul asked Islamabad to consider renaming its Ghauri and Abdali missiles, named after conquerors of parts of the subcontinent, Afghan Information Minister Sayed Makhdom Raheen said on Thursday. Mohammad Ghauri was a 12th-century Muslim conqueror of India who came from Afghanistan. The 18th-century Pashtun king Ahmad Shah Abdali founded the first Pashtun dynasty in 1748.
Politician regrets allegations
An opposition lawmaker apologized yesterday for alleging shady financial links between the ruling party and a disgraced Internet entrepreneur, in an incident that has embarrassed his faltering party. Lawmaker Hisayasu Nagata's failure to prove charges he made earlier this month has turned into a fiasco for the opposition Democratic Party. "I am deeply sorry," Nagata said, at a news conference. Nagata had told a parliamentary committee that Takafumi Horie, the former CEO of Internet firm Livedoor Co, had ordered company officials via e-mail to pay ¥30 million (US$258,000) in consulting fees to the son of LDP Secretary General Tsutomu Takebe. He has produced no evidence to show that the e-mail he referred to was genuine.
Killer gets 14 years
A man was sentenced to 14 years in prison for assaulting and killing an Indonesian woman after a sexual encounter at his employer's home, news reports said yesterday. Ng Boon Tee, 26, pleaded guilty to killing the woman, Sumiyati Muniri, 25, on April 17, 1999, the Star and New Straits Times newspapers reported. An autopsy found the victim sustained 42 injuries to her head and body, the Times report said. "During the time when you repeatedly attacked her, I'm sure she must have been pleading with you to stop, but you did not show any mercy for another human being," High Court judge Justice V.T. Singham was quoted as saying.
■ United Kingdom
Record heist took £53m