Lee KuXUL3an Yew’s wife dies
The wife of the city-state’s first prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew (李光耀), died yesterday at age 89, the Prime Minister’s Office said. Kwa Geok Choo (柯玉芝), who had been bedridden for over two years, unable to speak or move, passed away at 5:40pm in her home. Her husband, Lee Kuan Yew, 87, the architect of modern Singapore, has been in hospital since Wednesday for a chest infection. However, he was shown in good spirits on Friday in his hospital room. Lee is credited with transforming Singapore from a swampy Third World sea port into a First World financial dynamo.
Bin Laden behind plots: US
Counter-terrorism officials say they believe that senior al-Qaeda leaders, including Osama bin Laden, are involved in the latest terror plots against European cities. The multi-pronged scope of the emerging plan — which aimed to launch coordinated shooting sprees or attacks in Britain, France and Germany — is an al-Qaeda hallmark. One US intelligence official added, however, that the details of how the plan was directed or coordinated by the group’s core leaders is not yet clear.
Anti-Islam MP faces trial
Anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders, set to become a shadow partner of the next coalition government, goes on trial in Amsterdam tomorrow for inciting hatred against Muslims. The controversial politician with his signature shock of blonde-dyed hair risks up to a year in jail or a 7,600 euro (US$10,471) fine, according to prosecutors, for calling Islam “fascist” and likening the Koran to Hitler’s Mein Kampf. Wilders, 47, will stand trial on five charges of giving religious offense to Muslims and inciting hatred and discrimination against Muslims and people of non-Western immigrant origin, particularly Moroccans. Wilders campaigns for a stop to Muslim immigration, banning the construction of new mosques and a tax on headscarves.
Charity trustee facing charges
A former trustee of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund is facing criminal charges after supermodel Naomi Campbell told a war crimes tribunal she gave him three alleged blood diamonds in 1997, prosecutors said. Jeremy Ractliffe, who admitted he had the stones after they came under scrutiny at the war crimes trial of former Liberian dictator Charles Taylor, has been charged with illegal possession of uncut diamonds, South Africa’s national prosecuting authority said on Friday. Campbell told judges she gave the three uncut diamonds to Ractliffe to “do something good with.” The day after her testimony, Ractliffe confirmed he had kept the stones.
Police pay review launched
The government said on Friday it was launching the most comprehensive review of police pay and conditions in more than 30 years to maximize value for money in tough economic times. Home Secretary Theresa May said “nothing would be off limits” in a re-evaluation of roles, pay, pensions and work conditions. She said detailed scrutiny of practices aimed to inject a dose of modern management thinking into the running of the 43 forces in England and Wales. In July police watchdog Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and the Audit Commission said better procurement, more collaboration between forces and reforming old-fashioned shift patterns to meet demand could save ￡1 billion (US$1.6 billion)