Xi arrives in Indonesia
Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) yesterday made his first visit to Southeast Asia since taking office, arriving in Indonesia to boost ties and economic partnerships with the region’s biggest country. He was due to meet Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono yesterday and is due to become the first foreign leader to speak at the country’s parliament today. The countries are expected to sign agreements on loans, mining, transportation and joint investment. Investment deals for monorails in the capital, Jakarta, and the West Java provincial capital of Bandung are also planned.
Dissident handed jail term
A court has sentenced a US-trained lawyer and well-known dissident to 30 months in jail yestersday after finding him guilty on tax evasion charges. The verdict against Le Quoc Quan was immediately criticized by the US, which is pressing the nation to loosen restrictions on those advocating democracy and human rights. Washington, along with human rights groups and others observers, considers the charges against Quan to be politically motivated. Quan, who maintained a popular blog that highlighted human rights abuses and other issues off-limits to the state media, proclaimed his innocence throughout the one-day trial. Hundreds of his supporters braved a security crackdown to rally in the normally sleepy capital.
Pussy Riot strike ends
A jailed member of Russian punk band Pussy Riot on Tuesday ended an eight-day hunger strike she had staged to draw attention to what she called “slave labor conditions” in prison. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova was jailed in August last year, alongside fellow band member Maria Alekhina, on “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” charges stemming from a protest they held against President Vladimir Putin in Moscow’s main cathedral. The regional prison authority in the republic of Mordovia where Tolokonnikova is serving time said the 23-year-old “ended the hunger strike and started consuming food” on Tuesday morning.
Thief caught green-faced
A thief was caught not so much red-handed as green-faced in London after breaking into a car that sprayed him with a liquid that glows emerald under ultraviolet light. Yafet Askale, 28, denied entering the vehicle that police set up with a dye-trap in Harlesden, northwest London, to catch thieves in June, but he was found guilty of stealing objects inside the car after police produced photos showing his face covered with the liquid, invisible under normal light. Askale was sentenced to 49 hours of community service and ordered to pay ￡400 (US$650) costs on Friday. Police released photos of Askale on Monday, warning they had set up similar traps in cars and houses.
‘Cowards’ to be rehabilitated
They were mostly young, rank-and-file soldiers, exhausted and shell-shocked. One day they simply refused to take part in another raid, ignored orders or refused to get in line for inspection. Shot by firing squad, the disgraced, so-called cowards are now largely seen as traumatized victims of the horror of World War I, but they are not counted in the memorials dotting the country and President Francois Hollande is under pressure to restore their good name. Options put forward include a speech by Hollande rehabilitating them and the construction of a memorial.