Medina eyes abortion law
President Danilo Medina is urging legislators to decriminalize abortions if a woman’s life is at risk or in cases of rape, incest or fetus malformation. Medina expressed his opinions in a letter sent late on Friday to the leader of the legislative Chamber of Deputies as he explained his reasons for vetoing a measure that would double prison sentences in abortion cases. He did not oppose the stiffer penalties, but said the measure should spell out conditions when abortions can be allowed. The bill would have allowed them in what it called only a “state of necessity.” Abortion is illegal in all cases under the current law. A constitutional amendment in 2009 strengthened the ban by declaring that life begins at conception.
NY subway nuptials held
A young couple in New York City decided they spent so much time on the subway that they might as well get married there. So Hector Irakliotis and Tatyana Sandler exchanged vows on Friday on the “N” train as it crossed from Brooklyn into Manhattan. The Daily News reports that the 26-year-old groom boarded first with his groomsmen, who set about decorating the poles and seats with white ribbons. The 25-year-old bride and her maid of honor got on several stops later. An interfaith chaplain performed the ceremony as the train went over the Manhattan Bridge. Riders applauded as the couple were pronounced husband and wife. The groom told the newspaper that he and Sandler chose their wedding venue because they spent so much of their courtship on the subway.
Authorities have suspended a magistrate after he granted a convicted cocaine trafficker a suspended sentence. The Judicial Service Commission said on Friday that it asked Magistrate Alex Moore to step down pending a hearing. Moore recently issued the ruling in the case of businessman Leonard Bacchus, who pleaded guilty to trafficking 60kg of cocaine. Prosecutors have said they plan to appeal. Local laws impose a minimum three-year sentence and a fine on those who plead guilty to or are convicted of drug crimes.
Surveillance loophole found
Legislators investigating the surveillance activities of the US National Security Agency (NSA) have uncovered a legal loophole that allows the Federal Intelligence Service (BND) to spy on citizens. The agency is normally forbidden from eavesdropping on citizens or domestic companies. However, a former BND lawyer told legislators last week that citizens are not protected while working abroad for foreign companies. The government on Saturday confirmed to reporters that work-related calls or e-mails are attributed to the employer. If the employer is foreign, the BND can intercept them. Opposition legislators have accused the government of feigning outrage over alleged NSA spying while condoning illegal surveillance itself.
Social media laws mulled
The Supreme Court is to consider a groundbreaking case today about whether death threats posted on Facebook are liable to prosecution or whether threatening comments are protected by constitutional rights to free speech. It is to be the first time the top court’s nine justice — who are not known to have Facebook accounts of their own — will consider the limits of First Amendment protections on free speech on social media.
An Australian university student who has never visited China and has only a modest social media following would seem an unlikely target for the Chinese government. However, when a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman personally denounced Drew Pavlou at a news conference, it was just the next phase in an extraordinary campaign against the 21-year-old that has fueled concerns over China’s targeting of critics overseas. Pavlou first placed himself in the superpower’s sights when in July last year he organized a small sit-in at the University of Queensland, where he studies, to protest against various Chinese government policies. Since then, the Global
‘ASKED TO MOVE OUT’: Indonesian coast guard personnel argued with a Chinese vessel over territorial claims after it entered the country’s exclusive economic zone An Indonesian patrol ship confronted a Chinese coast guard vessel that spent almost three days in waters where Indonesia claims economic rights and that are near the southernmost part of China’s disputed claims to the South China Sea. The Indonesian Maritime Security Agency on Friday night detected Chinese ship 5204 entering Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in what Indonesia calls the North Natuna Sea. The agency sent a patrol ship that closed within 1km of the Chinese coast guard vessel and they communicated to affirm their position and their nation’s claims to the area, Indonesian Maritime Security Agency head Aan Kurnia said. “We
BEFORE WINTER COMES: Snow cuts off roads into Ladakh for four months or more each year, so the crunch is on to get food, tents and high-altitude equipment to Leh From deploying mules to large transport aircraft, the Indian military has activated its entire logistics network to transport supplies to thousands of troops for a harsh winter along a bitterly disputed Himalayan border with China. In the past few months, one of India’s biggest military logistics exercises in years has brought vast quantities of ammunition, equipment, fuel, winter supplies and food into Ladakh, a region bordering Tibet that India administers as a union territory, officials said. The move was triggered by a border standoff with China in the snow deserts of Ladakh that began in May and escalated in June into hand-to-hand
Since her personal telephone number was posted online, Hong Kong democracy advocate and Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions chairperson Carol Ng has received menacing calls from strangers and been bombarded with messages calling her a “cockroach.” She is not alone. A sophisticated and shady Web site called HK Leaks has ramped up its “doxxing” — where people’s personal details are published online — of Hong Kong democracy advocates, targeting those it says have broken Hong Kong’s National Security Law. Promoted by groups linked to the Chinese Chinese Communist Party and hosted on Russia-based servers, HK Leaks has become the most prominent “doxxing”