Breivik ruling appeal starts
The government yesterday started an appeal against a ruling that it treated mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik inhumanely by placing him in solitary confinement and restricting his movements. The Oslo District Court said that the isolation of the 37-year-old right-wing extremist, who killed 77 people in a bomb and shooting rampage in 2011, breached the European Convention on Human Rights. The government has maintained that Breivik, who is serving a 21-year sentence, is treated humanely despite the severity of his crimes and that he must be separated from other inmates for safety reasons. The appeals case opened yesterday in a makeshift courtroom in Skien prison, where Breivik is incarcerated. Six days have been reserved for the hearings.
Sex slave protester dies
A Buddhist monk has died days after he set himself on fire to protest the nation’s deal with Japan on former Korean sex slaves, Seoul National University Hospital said yesterday. The monk, 64, set himself ablaze on Saturday during rallies against impeached President Park Geun-hye. In his notebook found at the scene, he criticized Park’s 2015 agreement to settle an impasse over Korean women forced to be sex slaves for Japanese troops during World War II in return for an apology from the Japanese prime minister and a pledge of millions of US dollars. The monk was pronounced dead on Monday night of multiple organ failures caused by his burns, the hospital said.
Park’s friend snubs trial
President Park Geun-hye’s longtime friend at the center of a massive corruption scandal yesterday refused to testify at Park’s impeachment trial, with lawmakers alleging that it was a stalling tactic. The Constitutional Court had expected to hear from Choi Soon-sil, who is in jail and also on trial for allegedly using her connections with the president to extort money and favors from companies and unlawfully interfere with government affairs. However, Choi submitted documents to the court saying she was unable to testify. Two jailed former presidential aides who purportedly helped Choi also refused to testify, saying they needed to prepare for their own trials. Lawmakers, who function as prosecutors at the impeachment trial, raised suspicions that Park’s lawyers were controlling the witnesses as a stalling tactic.
Tehran open to ‘hajj’ talks
Tehran is ready to “participate in bilateral talks” with Saudi Arabia about this year’s hajj pilgrimage, the IRNA news agency late on Monday quoted Ali Qaziaskar, a representative of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as saying. Like other Islamic nations, Iran has received an invitation letter from Riyadh to discuss the next pilgrimage, he said. Tehran boycotted last year’s hajj after a stampede and crush of pilgrims during the previous year’s pilgrimage killed at least 2,426 people, including 464 Iranians, according to an Associated Press count.
Hicks charged with assault
David Hicks, the first prisoner held at the US Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to be convicted by a military court, yesterday appeared in a court in Adelaide charged with assaulting his partner. Hicks, 41, appeared at a pretrial conference on a charge that he assaulted his partner in September. He has yet to plea to the charge, which carries a potential two-year sentence. He was released on bail to appear next on Feb. 28.
Troops kill Palestinian
The Israeli military said troops have shot dead a Palestinian attacker who tried to stab soldiers in the West Bank. Israeli forces were on an arrest raid in the Fara Refugee Camp yesterday when the Palestinian charged toward them with a knife, they said. The troops shot him after he ignored warnings to halt. Palestinians said 32-year-old Mohammed al-Salhi was shot dead in his home.
Jolie Pitt and Pitt reach pact
Angelina Jolie Pitt and Brad Pitt have reached an agreement to handle their divorce in a private forum and will work together to reunify their family, the actors announced in a joint statement on Monday. Their statement released on Monday night to The Associated Press said that they will keep future details of their divorce confidential by using a private judge. “The parents are committed to act as a united front to effectuate recovery and reunification,” the statement said. Authorities investigated allegations that Pitt was abusive toward his 15-year-old son on a private flight, but sources familiar with the cases said the actor was cleared of any wrongdoing.
Suspension bridge fails
A suspension bridge popular with tourists in a rural area of central Colombia has failed, killing at least seven people and injuring 14 more. The bridge near Villavicencio is a major tourist attraction. Authorities said it might have turned upside down on Monday due to overload during a busy three-day holiday weekend. Those injured are being treated at a local hospital. Officials said they fear the death toll could rise because the injuries suffered by people spilled 80m into a gorge were severe. Firefighters at the rescue scene said the dead included five adults and two minors.
Chairlift accident probed
Electrical problems caused a chairlift at a small Colorado ski resort to hit a support tower and topple a Texas woman about 7.6m to her death, state investigators said on Monday. According to a report by the Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board, problems with the chairlift’s electrical drive/control system “contributed to a rare dynamic event that occurred on the lift at the time of the incident.” The four-person chair carrying Kelly Huber, 40, and her two young daughters hit a support tower at Ski Granby Ranch on Dec. 29, causing the family to fall onto hard-packed snow. The woman died from a ruptured aorta and other traumatic injuries, an autopsy concluded. Her 12-year-old daughter was treated at a local hospital and released, while her 9-year-old daughter was flown to a hospital in Denver.
Arrest in ‘Hollyweed’ case
Zachary Cole Fernandez, 30, was arrested on Monday, just over a week after a prankster used white tarps to make the “Hollywood” sign read “Hollyweed,” the Los Angeles Police Department said in a statement. Fernandez turned himself in with his attorney and was booked on suspicion of misdemeanor trespassing, police said. The prankster was dressed in black and was recorded by security cameras in the area changing the sign early New Year’s Day. Fernandez, an artist, had already claimed credit for the stunt in a Vice magazine interview, but police had not confirmed his involvement. Fernandez said that he had heard someone pulled the same prank in the 1970s and he sought to repeat it to “bring positivity into the world.”
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
‘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
CHANGING PERCEPTIONS: In its tender, the Hong Kong administration said that it had failed to ‘mobilise the community to support law enforcement actions’ The Hong Kong government has agreed to pay millions of pounds to a discreet London-based PR firm to counter coverage of the territory in the international media. Consulum, which has also represented Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was on Monday awarded the ￡5 million (US$6.2 million) one-year contract to improve Hong Kong’s reputation — the same day that China passed national security legislation targeting the territory. The Mayfair-based PR business was founded by Tim Ryan and Matthew Gunther Bushell, two former employees of Bell Pottinger, an agency that has been criticized for representing some governments and leaders that other businesses