Protesters’ trial delayed
A court yesterday postponed the trial of dozens of royalist activists facing charges relating to their roles in 2008 rallies that paralyzed Bangkok’s main airports, stranding thousands of tourists. Ninety-six members of the People’s Alliance for Democracy “Yellow Shirt” group appeared at the Criminal Court over a wave of demonstrations against allies of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, but the court agreed to wait until July 29 to hear from the defendants, after it emerged that some of those charged did not have legal representation. A total of 114 defendants face charges over the 2008 protests, which included the seizure of two airports, a blockade of parliament and the storming of Government House.
Bishop Jin Luxian dies
Shanghai Bishop Aloyisius Jin Luxian (金魯賢) died on Saturday at age 97. Ordained in 1938, Jin was imprisoned for nearly two decades under former leader Mao Zedong (毛澤東), who ordered Chinese Catholics to cut their ties with the Vatican. Jin was formally released in 1982 and named Shanghai bishop in 1988 by the Chinese Communist Party-controlled Patriotic Catholic Association. His successor, Thaddeus Ma Daqin (馬達欽), was placed under house arrest at the Sheshan Seminary last year after renouncing his membership in the association.
Military plates targeted
The government is banning the use of privileged military license plates on BMWs, Porches and other luxury cars in an attempt to crack down on abuses and reduce corruption. Military plates allow car owners to avoid paying tolls, parking fees and speeding tickets. All vehicles now using military plates must reregister with new ones by tomorrow, but luxury vehicles will be excluded. There has been widespread leasing of military plates or use of fake ones.
Five years after it was burned down in an arson attack, the government yesterday unveiled a newly restored Namdaemun (South Gate) in central Seoul. The 600-year-old gate will reopen to the public on Saturday. The largely wooden structure — which survived the devastation of the Korean War — was reduced to ashes by a disgruntled 69-year-old man with paint thinner and a cigarette lighter on Feb. 10, 2008. The five-year, 27 billion won (US$24 million) reconstruction involved 35,000 people, including more than 1,000 craftsmen who used traditional tools to restore the gate.
Bombing kills eight
A bomb killed eight people yesterday, including the son of an influential Afghan cleric, and wounded about 45 in Peshawar, officials said. The attack appeared to be aimed at the convoy of a city official, police officer Mohammad Ashfaq said. He said most of the people killed and wounded were waiting for a bus.
Dad charged for son’s driving
Police in Kerala State yesterday said charges had been filed against a man who allowed his nine-year-old son to drive his Ferrari. Inspector M.V. Verghese said Mohammed Nisham was charged with endangering the life of a child and allowing a minor to drive. Nisham’s wife filmed the boy driving on his ninth birthday two weeks ago, with his five-year-old brother in the passenger seat. The video went viral on YouTube and caused outrage nationwide.
New government forming
Center-right parties began talks on Sunday to form a new government, promising to end years of austerity and provide debt relief to households, and only arguing about which one of them should lead the government. Fed up with years of belt tightening and soaring debt, voters ousted the Social Democrats on Saturday, handing the biggest defeat to any ruling party since independence from Denmark in 1944 and offering a new chance to the very parties that presided over its economic bubble and collapse.