Activist’s sentence upheld
A land rights activist will serve seven years in jail after a court rejected an appeal against his conviction for spreading anti-government propaganda, state media said yesterday. Nguyen Ngoc Cuong, 56, and his son Nguyen Ngoc Tuong Thi were convicted in October last year in southern Dong Nai Province of using an online forum “to distort the policies of the state and the party,” official media reported. “As the appeal of Nguyen Ngoc Cuong had no mitigating circumstances, the court decided to uphold his conviction of seven years imprisonment imposed in the first trial,” the Communist Party newspaper Nhan Dan said. However, his son’s sentence was reduced by six months to one-and-half years in prison, the daily added.
Australian teen dies
An Australian teenage boy died in a snorkeling accident near Bali, police said on Friday. Jack McCabe, 16, from the Central Coast in New South Wales, arrived in Indonesia on Thursday and was snorkeling with his family in Crystal Bay near Nusa Penida, an island about 30km east of Bali. “The boy died on Thursday at about midday,” Klungkung District police chief Tri Wahyudi said. “When the boy came to the surface, he hit his head on a moored boat and screamed. He then lost consciousness.” The boy’s father took him to a nearby clinic, but he died on the way, Wahyudi said.
Australian sentenced to jail
A court in Guangzhou has sentenced an Australian businesswoman to eight years in jail for embezzlement, her lawyer said on Friday, in a case her supporters have linked to a business dispute. Charlotte Chou was accused of embezzling funds from the private school she helped found, the South China Institute of Software Engineering, according to Australian media reports. However, her supporters said a former minority shareholder in the company had used influence with officials to have her jailed to try to gain control of the school, the Sydney Morning Herald said on its Web site. The court could not be reached for comment. Chou plans to appeal, the paper said.
Travel warning lowered
The government dropped its travel warning for Indonesia to its lowest level since before the 2002 Bali bombings, which ripped apart a bustling nightclub district, killing 202 people. Canberra still advises travelers to “exercise a high degree of caution” when in Indonesia, but has eased its overall level from the -second-highest warning, which urged people to “reconsider your need to travel.” It puts Indonesia at the same level of threat as Thailand, the Philippines and India. Indonesia had been at “reconsider your need to travel” on Australia’s four-tier advisory system since October 2005 when another deadly suicide bombing targeting foreigners took place in Bali.
Five border policemen killed
Five border policemen were killed when a roadside bomb ripped through their patrol vehicle late on Friday, an official said yesterday. The bomb struck their pick-up truck in the Dur Baba District of Nangarhar Province, near the Pakistan border, the provincial governor’s spokesman said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but roadside bombs are regularly planted by Taliban insurgents fighting a decade-long war against NATO-led foreign troops and Afghan government forces.