Singapore a model: Suu Kyi
Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi cemented Singapore’s role as a major economic partner and model for her country on a five-day trip to the city-state, taking home what she said were valuable lessons on education policy and anti-graft measures. However, her endorsement came with a caveat — she said her country could do without the materialistic and high-pressure society that has accompanied Singapore’s decades-long transformation from tropical backwater to economic powerhouse. “I want to learn a lot from the standards that Singapore has been able to achieve, but I wonder whether we don’t want something more for our country,” she said. Despite that reservation, Aung San Suu Kyi’s first visit to Singapore is seen as affirming the nation’s close ties with the city-state as it seeks investments and technocratic expertise. She met Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (李顯龍), chief executives from some of the world’s biggest companies and visited the anti-corruption bureau.
‘Sister House’ stands trial
A former banking official accused of amassing a real estate empire of at least 45 properties under multiple fake identities stood trial yesterday for forgery, state media said, in a case that has revealed privileges of the country’s powerful. The trial opened in Jingbian County People’s Court in Shaanxi Province against Gong Aiai (龔愛愛), a former vice president of a local rural bank, Xinhua news agency said. Four former government employees also went on trial for their role in the wrongdoing. Gong denied the charges of forging, buying and selling state identification papers, arguing that all her identification documents were processed by police authorities, state media said. If convicted, Gong would face time in jail. Gong, who allegedly bought at least 45 properties worth US$160 million, came to be known as “Sister House” among the public and fueled public demands that officials declare their assets.
Catholic church stands firm
Catholic leaders are standing firm against contraception, abortion and homosexual marriage despite Pope Francis’ comments urging a change of tone on those issues, the church said yesterday. About 80 percent of the country’s 100 million people are Catholics, making the country the bastion of the faith in Asia, and church leaders insisted that its dogma would remain in place. “He is not saying that what the Church deemed before as wrong is now right. He is merely telling us to be more compassionate,” Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines president Jose Palma said in reaction to the recent papal statement.
Two die in washing machine
Police were investigating the mysterious deaths of two young sisters found in a bloody washing machine over the weekend, a newspaper reported yesterday. Police in Jiangxi Province have ruled out murder in the case, the Global Times said, citing Xinhua news agency. Police confirmed that the girls died of suffocation, the Global Times report said. However, other domestic reports said police have not ruled out foul play. The newspaper said that the girls — who died on Saturday — were aged four and two, while other reports said three and two. “The father found the girls curled up in the closed washing machine with a lot of blood when he saw the light on the washing machine was flickering,” the children’s grandfather said.