Fri, Dec 08, 2006 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ Macau
Minister arrested for bribes

Macau's transportation minister, Ao Man-long (歐文龍), has been arrested for allegedly accepting bribes, the government said yesterday. The rare arrest of a senior official was announced by Edmund Ho (何厚鏵), the Chinese territory's leader. Ao, who has held his position for seven years, was arrested by the Commission Against Corruption agency on Wednesday night, Ho told reporters. The Macau government said in a statement that Ao had taken bribes and engaged in illegal financial activities. It did not elaborate. Ao is one of the most senior officials arrested since the Portuguese enclave returned to Chinese rule in 1999.

■ Kazakhstan

Ex-cop gave `false' testimony

An ex-policeman convicted of murdering one of Kazakhstan's leading opposition politicians told an appeal hearing on Wednesday senior officials put pressure on him to give false testimony in his trial. Rustam Ibragimov was sentenced to death in August for the murder of Altynbek Sarsenbaiuly, a leading opponent of long-serving President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Ibragimov told the Central Asian state's Supreme Court his original testimony was made under duress. "The general prosecutor and interior minister stood over me and told me there was no one higher than them... I was scared of what would happen, not to me but to my family," he said.

■ Japan

Koizumi a willing diplomat

Former Japanese prime minister Junichiro Koizumi has said he is willing to visit North Korea for a third time to help break a diplomatic stalemate between the two countries, domestic media reported yesterday. Koizumi, who left office in September, visited Pyongyang as prime minister in 2002 and 2004 for summit meetings with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. "I want to revive the Pyongyang Declaration," Koizumi was quoted as saying by a fellow lawmaker in the Yomiuri newspaper.

■ Indonesia

`Playboy' editor on trial

The editor-in-chief of Playboy Indonesia went on trial yesterday on charges of publishing indecent material, a move cheered by religious groups in the predominantly Muslim country. A prosecutor told the South Jakarta District Court that Erwin Arnada oversaw photo shoots and selected revealing pictures of female models in underwear, some showing partially exposed breasts. Arnada has argued that his magazine contains no nudity and is much tamer than Indonesian versions of Western and local men's lifestyle magazines that have been on sale for several years with little outcry.

■ China

New head of construction

A new supervisor for construction projects has been installed for the 2008 Beijing Olympics as part of efforts to prevent corruption, following the dismissal of a vice mayor in charge of Games construction, an official said yesterday. Xu Bo (徐波), an engineer in the Ministry of Construction, was transferred to Beijing's 2008 Projects and Construction Headquarters Office to ensure the quality of Olympics construction, the office's spokesman, Wu Jingjun (吳競軍), said at a news conference. The office, Wu said, has also stepped up its auditing of projects to make sure Olympics funds are not misused. The promotion of Xu comes amid a general anti-corruption drive in Beijing and other major Chinese cities.

■ Italy
Photo blackmail probed

Actors, singers, showgirls and soccer players on Italy's celebrity circuit on Wednesday were taking in the news that a prosecutor in the south of the country is investigating a black market in compromising photographs. Italian media reported that the cost of keeping a paparazzi picture out of the press ranged from US$200,000 for a sleazy party snap to US$10,500 for a stolen nose-pick. Among those said to have refused to pay up is the Brazilian striker Adriano Leite Ribeiro.

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