French President Nicolas Sarkozy arrived in Lebanon yesterday in a show of support for his newly elected counterpart, Michel Suleiman, and for efforts to promote national unity after months of often deadly political crisis.
Sarkozy is the first Western head of state to visit the country since Suleiman took office last month.
He was greeted at Beirut airport by Suleiman, Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and the speaker of parliament, Nabih Berri.
Sarkozy on his day-long visit was due to lend his support and deliver a message of unity, his office said, a reference to an 18-month political deadlock that drove the country to the brink of civil war at the beginning of last month.
Along with Prime Minister Francois Fillon, the French delegation included Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, Defense Minister Herve Morin and the leaders of all of France’s major political parties.
The delegation was set to meet leaders of 14 Lebanese political parties, including the powerful Shiite opposition movement Hezbollah.
The crisis between the anti-Syrian ruling bloc, backed by the West and most Arab states, and the Hezbollah-led opposition, supported by Syria and Iran, began in late 2006, when the opposition withdrew from the Cabinet.
Since her personal telephone number was posted online, Hong Kong democracy advocate and Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions chairperson Carol Ng has received menacing calls from strangers and been bombarded with messages calling her a “cockroach.” She is not alone. A sophisticated and shady Web site called HK Leaks has ramped up its “doxxing” — where people’s personal details are published online — of Hong Kong democracy advocates, targeting those it says have broken Hong Kong’s National Security Law. Promoted by groups linked to the Chinese Chinese Communist Party and hosted on Russia-based servers, HK Leaks has become the most prominent “doxxing”
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
A Malaysian student whose cellphone was stolen while he was sleeping has tracked down the culprit: a monkey who took photo and video selfies with the device before abandoning it. Zackrydz Rodzi, 20, on Wednesday said that his mobile phone was missing from his bedroom when he woke up on Saturday. He found the phone’s casing under his bed, but there was no sign of robbery in his house in Johor state. JUNGLE When his father saw a monkey the next day, he searched in the jungle behind his house. Using his brother’s cellphone to call his own device, he found it covered
AUSTRALIAN SITE: China has had a contract with SSC’s Yatharagga station since at least 2011, but the last time it used it was in June 2013. No final date has been given China would lose access to a strategic space tracking station in Western Australia when its contract expires, the facility’s owners said, a decision that cuts into Beijing’s expanding space exploration and navigational capabilities in the Pacific region. The Swedish Space Corp (SSC) has had a contract allowing Beijing access to the satellite antenna at the station since at least 2011. The station is located next to an SSC satellite station primarily used by the US and its agencies, including NASA. The Swedish state-owned company said it would not enter into any new contracts at the Australian site to support Chinese customers after