Gang mutilates six people
Five men and a woman on Monday were found alive on a road with their hands amputated and their foreheads marked with the words: “I’m a thief.” The victims were mutilated by a criminal group linked to drug trafficking, which also left a dead man on the road and two bags with the severed hands in Tlaquepaque, near Guadalajara, the nation’s second-biggest city, police said. “They’re in a delicate state of health,” local police commander Roberto Larios told reporters. “Their stumps were wrapped in plastic.” Drug cartels often leave the dismembered bodies of victims on roadsides, making the discovery of six mutilated people alive all the more unusual. The dead man, 39, was apparently beaten to death and his hands were not cut off. He was married to the woman, who is 44. The other men are aged between 25 and 43. Authorities suspect that the gruesome crime is linked to drug dealing. Two of the victims have rap sheets. Witnesses said the victims were driven to the site in two vehicles and abandoned there with a note that said: “This happened to us for being thieves.” The message, signed “anti-thief elite group,” also threatens thieves and those who abuse women or children.
Noriega given hospital leave
A court has ordered that imprisoned former president Manuel Noriega be allowed to prepare for and recuperate from a surgery at a public hospital rather than prison. In a statement on Monday, the judiciary said the decision was based on a report from the country’s medical institute. The 82-year-old former strongman needs to have a benign brain tumor removed. He was scheduled to have the procedure in July, but apparently backed out, because he feared contracting an infection. Noriega’s lawyer, Ezra Angel, said that the court’s order, which he had not yet received formally, was in response to his petition that Noriega be allowed to recuperate at home.
Former judge accused
Federal prosecutors said a former Arkansas judge accused of giving lighter sentences to defendants in exchange for nude photographs and sexual acts tried to bribe witnesses and had an accomplice threaten to make one of them “disappear.” Joseph Boeckmann on Monday appeared disheveled as the accusations were levied during his arraignment hearing in District Court in Little Rock. The 70-year-old Boeckmann pleaded not guilty to bribery, fraud and other federal charges just hours after prosecutors unsealed a 21-count indictment.
Opposition faces new hurdle
The government-stacked courts have dealt another blow to the opposition’s attempts to unseat President Nicolas Maduro. In a decision on Monday, the Supreme Court ruled that opponents must collect signatures from 20 percent of registered voters in each of the country’s 24 states to force a recall referendum. The opposition had argued it needed to garner only 20 percent nationally to trigger the vote. The ruling will make it harder for opponents to mobilize support, especially in rural states dominated by the government, when it attempts next week to collect and electronically verify 4 million signatures over three days allotted for the petition drive. Polls show the public overwhelmingly wants to cut short Maduro’s term. However, the embattled socialist still has control over key institutions, including courts and the electoral council.
‘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
FOX HUNT: To suppress dissent, Chinese living abroad that Xi Jinping sees as threats are told to either return to China or commit suicide, Christopher Wray said Chinese agents have been pursuing hundreds of Chinese nationals living in the US in an effort to force their return, as part of a global campaign against the country’s diaspora, known as Operation Fox Hunt, FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Tuesday. In a speech about the security threat posed by China, during which he said Beijing’s counterintelligence work was the “greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property, and to our economic vitality,” Wray gave the example of one Fox Hunt target who was given a choice of going back to China or killing themselves. Fox Hunt was launched
‘FIGHT FOR FREEDOM’: Hong Kongers will never bow to Beijing, the advocate said, while the US’ envoy to the territory called China’s new security law a ‘tragedy’ The world must stand in solidarity with Hong Kongers after Beijing imposed sweeping national security legislation on the semi-autonomous territory, advocate Joshua Wong (黃之鋒) said yesterday, vowing to continue campaigning for democracy. Wong, one of the territory’s most prominent young advocates and a figure loathed by Beijing, was speaking outside a court where he and fellow advocates are being prosecuted for involvement in last year’s pro-democracy protests. China last week enacted sweeping security legislation for the restless territory, banning acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. The legislation has sent a wave of fear through the territory, and criminalized dissenting
A squad of gun-toting police officers patrolled Myanmar’s sacred site of Bagan under the cover of night, taking on plunderers snatching relics from temples forsaken by tourists due to COVID-19 restrictions. Each evening as dusk falls, about 100 officers fan out across the plain of Bagan covering 50km2, sweeping flashlights over the crumbling monuments to scour for intruders. “Our security forces are patrolling day and night,” Police Lieutenant Colonel Sein Win told reporters. “We have it under control for the moment, but it’s a challenge.” The central Burmese city is strewn with more than 3,500 ancient monuments — stupas, temples, murals and sculptures