Aung San Suu Kyi not voting
Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi will not vote in upcoming by-elections despite running for a seat in parliament, an official with her party said on Monday. Even though Aung Sang Suu Kyi will be running for her National League for Democracy in the southern Yangon district of Kawhmu on April 1, she will not vote there because she does not live in the district, party spokesman Thein Oo said. Thein Oo said that to register to vote in Kawhmu, Aung Sang Suu Kyi would have to change her home’s registration from where she lives now in a central district of Yangon, which is a complicated procedure. As there is no by-election in Aung Sang Suu Kyi’s home district, she will not vote at all.
Karzai Twitter account fake
The presidency confirmed on Monday that a fake Twitter account had been set up in the name of President Hamid Karzai. The handle @PresHamidKarzai, which began tweeting on Monday with the announcement: “Welcome to my Official Twitter Account. Hamid Karzai,” was not authentic, deputy presidential spokesman Siamak Hirawai said. The account was not officially verified by the microblogging Web site and the second tweet raised further suspicions by describing Sunday’s killing spree of 16 civilians by a US soldier as “an act of war against our country.” “I deny such tweets are tweeted on behalf of the presidential palace of Afghanistan. The president does not have any account nor [does] he use Twitter,” Hirawai said.
Gun ring broken up
A criminal syndicate smuggling black-market handguns into Sydney from Germany was smashed yesterday with three people arrested, police said. The arrests were made by officers from Strike Force Maxworthy, which was established last month to investigate the import racket with the help of the German Federal Police. “Today, a number of search warrants have been executed in Sydney, Australia, and Remscheid, Germany,” New South Wales state police said. “Three men have been arrested in Sydney and are assisting police with their inquiries.”
Deaths to be probed
Inquests will be held into the deaths of 16 people killed during a crackdown on Red Shirt anti-government protests two years ago, a prosecutor said yesterday. More than 90 people, mostly civilians, were killed and nearly 1,900 wounded during the 2010 rallies, which ended in a bloody military operation under then-prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, who is now opposition leader. An initial hearing was held on Monday, but examination of 41 witnesses in the case will not begin until mid-June.
Legislators fight envoys
Lawmakers scuffled with North Korean delegates in Switzerland at a UN meeting on the North’s human rights abuses. Footage from Yonhap news agency shot on Monday showed several lawmakers trying to grab a North Korean diplomat leaving the UN meeting as they chanted slogans against China’s policy of repatriating North Korean defectors. The lawmakers were pushed away by security and North Korean delegates. The incident comes amid reports that China is returning dozens of North Koreans to their homeland instead of letting them defect to the South. Yonhap said the North’s diplomat left the conference after denying a UN human rights envoy’s criticism of his country.
Cheney cancels trip
Former US vice president Dick Cheney canceled a speaking appearance because of security concerns sparked by demonstrations during a visit he made to Vancouver last fall. Cheney was scheduled to talk about his experiences in office and the current political situation in the US at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on April 24. However, Ryan Ruppert of Spectre Live Corp said on Monday that Cheney and his daughter Elizabeth had “decided it was better for their personal safety they stay out of Canada.” On Sept. 26 last year, Cheney was forced to stay holed up in the Vancouver Club for seven hours before it was deemed safe for him to leave. Demonstrators blocked the entrances and at one point scuffled with police.
Gold market robbed
Gunmen with rifles and hand grenades blasted their way into a row of Baghdad goldsmith shops on Monday, killing nine people and wounding 15, and escaping with gold and cash, police said. Police said the gunmen stormed the al-Aswad gold market in Baghdad’s northeastern Ur district. They killed two gold shop owners, two policemen, two soldiers and three passersby. Hospital sources confirmed the death toll. “Gunmen in two to three vehicles broke into the gold shops and started firing. Some gunmen were shooting at people standing outside to enable other gunmen to steal gold,” a policeman at the scene said by telephone.
Condom record set
The government said it handed out nearly a half-billion free condoms last year — a record for the nation’s campaign to reduce AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. The Health Ministry said it distributed 493 million condoms last year. That is two-and-a-half condoms for every person in Latin America’s largest nation. They cost the government about US$19 million. The ministry said the government buys and distributes more condoms than any other nation. About 90 percent of all condoms used in Brazil are provided by the government.
Trafficker pleads guilty
The nephew of a powerful former Mexican drug cartel lord pleaded guilty on Monday to a drug trafficking conspiracy that stretched across the US. Rafael Cardenas Vela, 38, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and more than a half tonne of marijuana at a hearing before District Judge Andrew Hanen in Brownsville, Texas. Cardenas Vela is the nephew of Osiel Cardenas, the former leader of the brutal Gulf cartel, who was extradited from Mexico in 2007 and is now serving a 25-year sentence. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents detained Cardenas Vela during an undercover operation outside a lavish ranch home where he was staying north of Brownsville in October last year.
Inmate sneaks out for sex
A male inmate in the maximum-security section of a Maine jail has breached security by sneaking into another wing for sex with a female inmate. The sheriff’s office says the 23-year-old man from Biddeford was caught crawling between cell blocks on Friday night as he was returning to his cell at the Cumberland County Jail. Officials say a video shows how he entered the women’s cell block, going through four doors to access the cell of a 25-year-old woman he apparently knew.
The onset of summer has sparked a rise in incidents of “mask rage” in South Korea as more hot and bothered commuters either refuse to wear face coverings or leave parts of their faces exposed. In South Korea, Japan and other countries in East Asia, widespread mask wearing has been cited as one possible explanation for the region’s relative success in bringing the COVID-19 pandemic under control. South Korea, one of the first countries outside China to be affected by the virus, flattened the coronavirus curve in April, although it is now struggling with dozens of daily cases, mainly in and around
‘WOULD NOT COMPLY’: The company’s user data are kept in Singapore and it would not turn the data over to Beijing even if asked, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said Social media app TikTok has distanced itself from Beijing after India banned 59 Chinese apps in the country, according to a correspondence seen by Reuters. In a letter to the Indian government dated on Sunday last week and seen by Reuters on Friday, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said the Chinese government has never requested user data, nor would the company turn it over if asked. TikTok, which is not available in China, is owned by China’s ByteDance, but has sought to distance itself from its Chinese roots to appeal to a global audience. Along with 58 other Chinese apps, including Tencent
PLAYING THE VICTIM? A Chinese spokesman sent a statement to Australian media saying that Beijing had ‘irrefutable’ evidence of Canberra’s widescale espionage Australia yesterday unveiled the “largest-ever” boost in cybersecurity spending, days after Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison spoke out about a wave of state-sponsored attacks suspected to have been carried out by China. Morrison and government officials said the country would spend an additional A$1.35 billion (US$928 million) on cybersecurity, about a 10 percent hike, taking the budget for the next decade to A$15 billion. The largest chunk of the new money would help create 500 jobs within the Australian Signals Directorate, the government’s communications intelligence agency. Morrison on June 19 said that a “state-based actor” was targeting a host of
The Philippine army chief yesterday expressed outrage over the fatal police shooting of four soldiers, including two officers, and demanded justice, as both sides provided contrasting accounts of the killings. Philippine Secretary of the Interior and Local Government Eduardo Ano, a retired military chief of staff who now oversees the national police, ordered that the police involved in Monday’s violence in Jolo in Sulu Province be disarmed and restricted for investigation. Police said the soldiers were killed in a “misencounter” with a group of police officers. The army said that the two officers and two enlisted men were on a mission against