Family appeals for clemency
Family members of a maid facing the death penalty after being convicted of drug trafficking in Indonesia made a last-minute appeal yesterday for clemency. The parents, siblings and two young sons of Mary Jane Veloso delivered an open letter to Indonesian President Joko Widodo to the Indonesian embassy and appealed for “mercy and compassion” for the 30-year-old single mother. The letter said Veloso was tricked by a compatriot into carrying 2.6kg of heroin in her luggage and says she was a victim of drug syndicates. Indonesia’s highest court last month rejected a judicial review petition by Veloso, who is among 10 foreign drug smugglers facing death by a firing squad. “We are begging for mercy beloved president [Widodo], don’t impose the death penalty on my daughter, Veloso’s mother, Celia Velso, said. Veloso’s sons, aged six and 12, held a placard that read: “Mercy and compassion for Mary Jane and family.”
SNP offers to help Labour
Scottish National Party (SNP) leader Nicola Sturgeon offered to help Labour party leader Ed Miliband become prime minister on Tuesday, while raising the possibility of seeking another independence referendum after next year. In a lively televised debate between the leaders of the four main Scottish parties, Sturgeon outlined her aim to help the center-left Labour party into power to prevent Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron winning a second term. “I don’t want David Cameron to be prime minister, I’m offering to help make Ed Miliband prime minister,” Sturgeon said.
Chicago mayor re-elected
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel won re-election on Tuesday as voters in the city’s first mayoral runoff decided that, despite his brusque management style, the former White House chief of staff was best equipped to deal with the many dire challenges facing the country’s third-largest city. Emanuel was forced to campaign furiously across the city to beat Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia after failing to capture a majority against four other candidates in a February election. The mayoral runoff was the first since the city changed the way it conducts elections about 20 years ago. “To all the voters I want to thank you for putting me through my paces,” Emanuel told supporters on Tuesday night. “I will be a better mayor because of that. I will carry your voices, your concerns into ... the mayor’s office.” With nearly all voting precincts reporting results, Emanuel had about 56 percent of the vote compared with about 44 percent for Garcia.
Ferguson goes to polls
Voters in the troubled Missouri city of Ferguson cast ballots on Tuesday in the first municipal elections since police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed teenager Michael Brown on a residential street in August last year, triggering weeks of sometimes violent protests. Four African-Americans are among the eight candidates vying for three seats up for grabs on the six-seat council. Nearly 15,000 residents are registered to vote, although only 12 percent turned out for mayoral elections a year ago. The St Louis suburb of 21,000 is two-thirds African-American, but historically, its black community has not been actively engaged in municipal politics.
Japan said it opposed changes to the G7 nations as it pushed back against a reform plan by US President Donald Trump that would have rival South Korea this year join in an expanded meeting. Tokyo has told the US it stands against South Korea’s participation on the grounds of differences in policy on China and North Korea, Kyodo News reported this weekend, citing more than one source related to Japanese and US diplomacy. Japan also wants to maintain its status as the only Asian country in the group, the news agency added. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga yesterday told reporters that
The onset of summer has sparked a rise in incidents of “mask rage” in South Korea as more hot and bothered commuters either refuse to wear face coverings or leave parts of their faces exposed. In South Korea, Japan and other countries in East Asia, widespread mask wearing has been cited as one possible explanation for the region’s relative success in bringing the COVID-19 pandemic under control. South Korea, one of the first countries outside China to be affected by the virus, flattened the coronavirus curve in April, although it is now struggling with dozens of daily cases, mainly in and around
‘WOULD NOT COMPLY’: The company’s user data are kept in Singapore and it would not turn the data over to Beijing even if asked, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said Social media app TikTok has distanced itself from Beijing after India banned 59 Chinese apps in the country, according to a correspondence seen by Reuters. In a letter to the Indian government dated on Sunday last week and seen by Reuters on Friday, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said the Chinese government has never requested user data, nor would the company turn it over if asked. TikTok, which is not available in China, is owned by China’s ByteDance, but has sought to distance itself from its Chinese roots to appeal to a global audience. Along with 58 other Chinese apps, including Tencent
PLAYING THE VICTIM? A Chinese spokesman sent a statement to Australian media saying that Beijing had ‘irrefutable’ evidence of Canberra’s widescale espionage Australia yesterday unveiled the “largest-ever” boost in cybersecurity spending, days after Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison spoke out about a wave of state-sponsored attacks suspected to have been carried out by China. Morrison and government officials said the country would spend an additional A$1.35 billion (US$928 million) on cybersecurity, about a 10 percent hike, taking the budget for the next decade to A$15 billion. The largest chunk of the new money would help create 500 jobs within the Australian Signals Directorate, the government’s communications intelligence agency. Morrison on June 19 said that a “state-based actor” was targeting a host of