Fri, Jan 23, 2015 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take



Sedition conviction upheld

The Supreme Court yesterday upheld a nine-year prison sentence for a former leftist lawmaker convicted of inciting an armed revolt in the event of war breaking out with North Korea. Lee Seok-ki, a key member of the now-disbanded United Progressive Party, was first convicted of plotting a rebellion in February last year after a rare sedition trial involving a sitting member of the National Assembly, but the 12-year sentence he received was reduced to nine on appeal after the High Court ruled that Lee had not actually plotted a rebellion, but only encouraged one. Yesterday’s ruling agreed there was no proof that an organization for rebellion actually existed and that Lee’s guilt was therefore confined to the charge of incitement. Chief Justice Yang Sung-tae also confirmed that Lee had violated the National Security Law by praising North Korea. Lee’s treason trial had been the first of a lawmaker since the nation’s transformation from a military-backed autocracy to a democracy in the 1980s.


US calls for killings probe

The US has called for an investigation into the killings of two ethnic Kachin teachers, amid allegations by activists the women were raped and murdered by government forces. The bloodied corpses were discovered earlier this week in a village in Shan state. A medical report indicated the volunteer teachers from the Kachin Baptist Convention died from penetration wounds to their liver, lungs and head, Zau Ra, secretary of the organization, said by telephone yesterday. Their private parts had also been violated, he said, adding that he was “shocked and saddened’ by the news. The military — which has launched fresh attacks in Kachin state, trapping more than 1,000 civilians in several villages — has long been accused of serious abuses in fighting against ethnic rebels. Activists said the two teachers were raped and killed by government forces.


Cocaine granny escapes jail

Helen Heaphy’s number came up at the bingo hall. The prize was a trip to court. The 50-year-old grandmother pleaded guilty on Wednesday to two counts of possessing cocaine for sale or supply after police caught her with the narcotic outside a Cork bingo hall. Cork District Court Judge Leo Malone accepted her lawyer’s plea for clemency, citing her family obligations and her possession of a relatively small amount of the drug worth 350 euros (US$400). Heaphy insisted she was holding the cocaine for an unspecified friend. Malone fined Heaphy 750 euros, but gave her no jail time, despite having two prior convictions for drugs possession and obstructing a police narcotics unit. She was even allowed to go back to playing bingo at the hall after the owner relented on a ban.


Prostitution ring broken up

Police have broken up a prostitution ring offering the services of more than 400 women, some of them minors, and have arrested 29 people, the interior ministry said on Wednesday. The ring recruited adult women and girls between the ages of 14 and 17 in schools and nightclubs in the southern region of Murcia, as well as over the Internet, to work in brothels, a ministry statement said. Police arrested 29 people as part of the operation, including three women suspected of running the ring and several of their clients who would specifically ask for underage girls. “The ring had put together a photobook which offered ‘a la carte’ more than 400 women, including minors,” the statement said.

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