Musharraf slams clerics
The Muslim world must correct Western misperceptions created by "semiliterate clerics" about Islam as a religion that fosters militant extremism, Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf said yesterday. "We need to inform the world of the reality of Islam," Musharraf told a meeting of the World Islamic Economic Forum. "Semiliterate clerics who hold sway over the masses [have contributed] to the rise of extremism in the Muslim world as opposed to moderation," he said. "This is the unfortunate reality because this is the critical malaise which spawns terrorism."
Leaders slam sex article
Government leaders have rebuked a local newspaper for publishing a frank expose of sexual attitudes among the country's youth. The Weekend Mail gave detailed descriptions of favorite sex positions from its survey -- including "spooning, galloping and tea bag positions" -- in a three-page feature that delivered on its front-page promise: "You'll be shocked." "I received endless calls and SMS over the articles," Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak told a ruling-party meeting on Sunday. "The media going overboard in exploiting sex will only worsen our social problems," he was quoted by the New Straits Times.
Mine blast kills 17
At least 17 miners were killed and another 30 were trapped after a gas explosion in a coal mine in Xinzhou, Shanxi Province, on Sunday, the Xinhua news agency reported yesterday. Initial indications showed that the gas accumulated and exploded after exhaust fans stopped working due to a power failure.
Courts sentenced Dutch, French and Chinese nationals from 20 years in prison to life yesterday for ties to an ecstasy factory capable of producing millions of illegal pills a year. Presiding judge Mulyanto told the Tangerang District Court that Frenchman Serge Areski Atloui and Nicolaas Garnick Josephus of Holland were given life behind bars for helping produce ingredients used to make the drug. Five Chinese men each received 20 years for producing methamphe-tamines, known locally as shabu-shabu, another judge said.
Police cadets arrested
Twenty-eight aspiring policemen have been arrested after around 18,000 of them went on a rampage following the police admission exam, an official said yesterday. "Cars were stopped, roads were blocked, vendors were looted and some of them abused and hooted the women," a police official in the northern city of Ghaziabad said. "We are investigating the reason why so many people went wild," he said. Newspaper reports said the mobs commandeered cars, buses and three-wheeler auto-rickshaws, sometimes forcing out the original passengers and smashing car windows. Several women were also molested.
Frenchman stabs girlfriend
A Frenchman was arrested in Thailand after he confessed to stabbing his Thai girlfriend to death in their Bangkok apartment during a drunken brawl, police said yesterday. Arthur Bordoni, 26, was detained on Sunday. Bordoni told police that he and his girlfriend, Rosarin Aswapanuwat, 21, got into an argument over her alleged affair with another man, prompting a fight that resulted in his stabbing her to death. After killing the woman, Bordoni telephoned his mother in France and asked her to contact the French embassy in Bangkok. He waited in his apartment, which he and his girlfriend had shared for several months, until police arrived.
Say no to wife-swapping
Sociologists said that the country should promote bolder attitudes towards sex, but that wife-swapping was off the agenda, state media reported yesterday. Chinese attitudes towards sex have relaxed in recent decades, triggering a boom in extramarital relationships which the Communist Party has blamed on bourgeois mores imported from the West. "Wife-swapping should not be promoted to the public as it will lead to the spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases," the China Daily quoted a family planning official, as saying at the fourth Guangzhou Sex Culture Expo over the weekend. "Neither the sex forum nor the expo should provide a platform for advertising bold and unacceptable views to the public," he said.
■ South Korea
Scientist files lawsuit
A disgraced scientist who falsified stem cell research data filed a lawsuit yesterday seeking reinstatement from a university that fired him over the controversy, a court official and his lawyer said. Hwang Woo-suk, who once claimed to have produced the first cloned human embryos, said in the suit that Seoul National University fired him based on "distorted and exaggerated" evidence contained in the outcome of an in-house investigation, an official at the Seoul.
Kabila ahead in early polls
The election commission began releasing partial results on Sunday from last week's presidential run-off to try to stem the flow of rumors and unofficial results circulating in the tense capital. Results from 12 of 169 constituencies were published on its Web site, giving President Joseph Kabila 68.5 percent of the vote in the race against Jean-Pierre Bemba, a former rebel turned vice president. The commission stressed the figures were partial and should not be used to extrapolate a final tally for the election. The final results must be published by Nov. 19 but are expected a week earlier.
Former PM Ecevit dies
Former prime minister Bulent Ecevit, a political force for almost half a century who ordered the invasion of Cyprus and later pushed his country toward the West, has died. He was 81. Ecevit died on Sunday at Ankara's GATA military hospital after nearly six months in a coma following a stroke, the hospital said in a statement, citing circulatory and respiratory problems as causes of his death. He started his political career in 1957 as a staunchly left-wing lawmaker, but later became a US ally, a transformation that mirrored changes in his country which has gone from a largely insular nation to one that is increasingly opening to the West.
Free speech may be eased
Prime Minister Recep Erdogan signaled on Sunday that he was prepared to amend a law limiting free speech, a surprise move that was apparently an 11th-hour attempt to prevent a crisis with the EU over the nation's troubled membership talks. The European Commission is expected to publish a damning report this week criticizing Turkey for sluggishness on the changes it needs to make if it wants to join the EU. Turkey's law on freedom of expression, which makes "denigration of the Turkish state and identity" a crime, has generated widespread international criticism.
■ South Africa
Ex-Zuma aide loses appeal
The top appeals court yesterday rejected an appeal of a corruption conviction by a former aide to ex-deputy president Jacob Zuma, a move analysts say could hobble any bid by Zuma for the presidency. The Supreme Court of Appeals in Bloemfontein said Schabir Shaik was "correctly convicted" on all three counts against him, according to a live feed by SABC TV. "We find a wealth of evidence to show that the friendship [between Shaik and Zuma], which we accept exists, was persistently and aggressively exploited by Mr. Shaik for his own and his group's advantage," the court's ruling said.
Fighting flares in north
Fighting flared yesterday between Islamist forces and troops from the semi-autonomous northern enclave of Puntland which has resisted Islamist influence, Islamist sources said. Islamists said they were under heavy attack near Puntland in a dangerous turn of events in the Horn of Africa nation that many fear is on the verge of all-out war. If confirmed, the clash would be the first violence since peace talks between the Islamists and the interim government broke down in Sudan last week. Puntland leaders have repeatedly said that they would resist any attempt by the Islamists to extend their control into the northern province which largely runs its own affairs.
■ United Kingdom
Military families in court bid
Families of soldiers killed in Iraq returned to London's High Court yesterday to press their case for an independent inquiry into Britain's involvement in the war. The families are appealing against a court refusal of their bid for an inquiry last year. They were given permission for yesterday's appeal in June, but were told by the court they faced "formidable hurdles" in winning their case. "I believe our prime minister lied to us and an inquiry would establish whether that was the case," said Rose Gentle, a member of the families bringing the legal action. Her son Gordon was killed by a roadside bomb in Basra.
■ United Kingdom
Blair defends ID scheme
All foreigners from outside the EU will need a British identity card to find work or claim benefits in Britain under a new scheme that comes into force from 2008, Prime Minister Tony Blair said. Writing in yesterday's Daily Telegraph, Blair said the project, which also includes the introduction of national ID cards for all Britons, would help catch terrorists and combat illegal immigration. The ID card plan has been criticized as infringing upon civil liberties, being too costly and unlikely to be effective. Blair, however, said the cards and a national ID database were a step in the right direction.
`Good Samaritan' killed
A US sailor killed during an early morning bar brawl in Halifax, Nova Scotia, was a "Good Samaritan" trying to break up a fight he wasn't even involved in, police said on Sunday. Damon Crooks, 28, of Jacksonville, Florida, was stabbed early on Saturday outside a club after a fight that began inside spilled onto the street. Cory Wright, 23, of Halifax was charged on Sunday with first-degree murder. Two other local men face less severe charges. Crooks and at least one other sailor, who was taken to a hospital with minor injuries, apparently tried to break up a fight that escalated into a brawl involving about 20 people, police said. Crooks was stationed on one of two US naval vessels in Halifax to take part in exercises with the Canadian navy.
■ United States
LouseBuster blasts lice
Head lice were blown away in half an hour by a new blow dryer-like device, University of Utah researchers report. The "LouseBuster," which kills bugs and eggs by drying them out, might one day offer an alternative to the powerful delousing shampoos currently used. The LouseBuster results were reported in this month's issue of Pediatrics. A study of 169 children in the Salt Lake area showed the LouseBuster killed 80 percent of hatched lice and 98 percent of eggs on infested children. Enough bugs were killed to prevent remaining lice from breeding so "virtually all subjects were cured of head lice when examined one week following treatment," the researchers wrote. The LouseBuster could be on the market within two years.
■ United Kingdom
Abuser faces sentencing
A woman in York faced sentencing yesterday for turning her sister-in-law into a slave, forcing her to do housework naked and beating her savagely. Antonia Pearson-Gaballonie, a 35-year-old mother of six, kept Veronica Sandeman, 26, as a slave, stabbed her with scissors and made her beg for food for several years. She was found guilty at York Crown Court in September of making threats to kill, false imprisonment and six counts of assault resulting in bodily harm between 2002 and 2004.
FOX HUNT: To suppress dissent, Chinese living abroad that Xi Jinping sees as threats are told to either return to China or commit suicide, Christopher Wray said Chinese agents have been pursuing hundreds of Chinese nationals living in the US in an effort to force their return, as part of a global campaign against the country’s diaspora, known as Operation Fox Hunt, FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Tuesday. In a speech about the security threat posed by China, during which he said Beijing’s counterintelligence work was the “greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property, and to our economic vitality,” Wray gave the example of one Fox Hunt target who was given a choice of going back to China or killing themselves. Fox Hunt was launched
INTERNET CURBS: People are rushing to erase their digital footprints after police given powers over online activity, although it might take years for the full effect to be felt At midnight on Tuesday, the Great Firewall of China, the vast apparatus that limits the country’s Internet, appeared to descend on Hong Kong. Unveiling expanded police powers as part of contentious new national security legislation, the Hong Kong government enabled police to censor online speech, and force Internet service providers to hand over user information and shut down platforms. Many residents, already anxious since the legislation took effect last week, rushed to erase their digital footprint of any signs of dissent or support for the past year of protests. Hong Kong Legislator Charles Mok (莫乃光), a pro-democracy member of the Legislative
‘FIGHT FOR FREEDOM’: Hong Kongers will never bow to Beijing, the advocate said, while the US’ envoy to the territory called China’s new security law a ‘tragedy’ The world must stand in solidarity with Hong Kongers after Beijing imposed sweeping national security legislation on the semi-autonomous territory, advocate Joshua Wong (黃之鋒) said yesterday, vowing to continue campaigning for democracy. Wong, one of the territory’s most prominent young advocates and a figure loathed by Beijing, was speaking outside a court where he and fellow advocates are being prosecuted for involvement in last year’s pro-democracy protests. China last week enacted sweeping security legislation for the restless territory, banning acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. The legislation has sent a wave of fear through the territory, and criminalized dissenting
‘SUICIDE’: Media reports said Park Won-soon went missing on Thursday after a staff member filed a sexual harassment claim against him this week Seoul mayor Park Won-soon, viewed as a potential candidate for the 2022 presidential election, was found dead of an apparent suicide hours after he was reported missing, police said, adding that he was the subject of an undisclosed investigation. In a note he is thought to have left behind on his desk, Park offered his apologies. “I thank everyone who was with me in my life. I apologize to my family for only making them suffer from pain,” according to the note that was released by his office yesterday. Park, in his letter, asked to be cremated and have his remains spread