Wed, Jan 27, 2010 - Page 6 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■KOREAS

North envoy flees to South

A North Korean embassy official in Ethiopia has defected through Seoul’s diplomatic mission in Addis Ababa, YTN cable news network in Seoul said yesterday. YTN said the 40-year-old medical doctor, identified only as Kim, fled to the South Korean embassy and asked for political asylum last October. It said the defection prompted the North Korean ambassador in Ethiopia to make a protest call to his South Korean counterpart. South Korean foreign ministry officials escorted him to Seoul in early November, it said. The South’s foreign ministry declined to comment.

■VIETNAM

New probe over Japan aid

A Vietnamese official jailed for abuse of power in a scandal that led Japan to suspend aid to Vietnam is under investigation for graft in the same case, the official police newspaper said yesterday. The new probe into Huynh Ngoc Sy, a former transport official, was announced on Monday, the Cong An Nhan Dan (People’s Police) newspaper said. After finding new evidence in files received from Japanese prosecutors, Vietnamese police are investigating whether Sy received bribes of up to US$262,000 from Tokyo-based Pacific Consultants International (PCI), the Thanh Nien newspaper reported. Sy is already serving a three-year sentence after being convicted last September of abusing his position.

■MALAYSIA

Japanese faces charges

A Japanese woman appeared in court yesterday on charges of trafficking 3.5kg of methamphetamines, which will see her executed if convicted. Mariko Takeuchi, 35, appeared tired and nervous during the appearance at a sessions court outside the capital Kuala Lumpur. “We have received the chemist report. It said she was carrying 3.493 grams of methamphetamines. She faces the mandatory death sentence if convicted,” her lawyer S. Prakasah told reporters outside the sessions court. The lab results reduced the amount of drugs in question from an earlier allegation of 4.7kg of methamphetamines. Judge Zulhelmy Hasan agreed to a prosecution request to transfer the case from the Sepang sessions court to the High Court, which is empowered to deal with capital cases. No date has been fixed for the start of the trial.

■MALAYSIA

Court removes ban on book

The Kuala Lumpur High Court on Monday overturned a government ban on a book about Muslim women that authorities claimed was a misinterpretation of Islam and a threat to public stability, a lawyer said yesterday. The verdict marks a rare occasion that a publisher has successfully challenged the home ministry’s power to block books considered inappropriate. The court ruled that Muslim Women and the Challenge of Islamic Extremism did not pose any threat to national security, said Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, a lawyer for Sisters in Islam, the Malaysian women’s advocacy group that published the book.

■CHINA

No more cat and dog meat

Dog and cat meat could be off the menu under China’s first law against animal abuse, the Chongqing Evening News said yesterday. People who eat either animal would face fines of up to 5,000 yuan (US$730) and up to 15 days in jail if the law is passed, the report said. It said “organizations” involved in the practice would be fined from 10,000 to 500,000 yuan. The report gave no other details.

■FRANCE

Burton to head Cannes jury

Visionary screen storyteller Tim Burton is to head the jury at this year’s Cannes film festival from May 12 to May 23, in what the US director said “is a dream come true.” “After spending my early life watching triple features and 48-hour horror movie marathons, I’m finally ready for this,” the US director said in a statement released by the festival yesterday.

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