Groom dies before wedding
Fourteen members of the same family were killed yesterday in a car crash on their way to a wedding party, including the groom, who died instantly when their van hit a container truck, police said. The victims were heading to the bride’s family home in Binh Dinh Province from their home in Quang Tri Province, a police officer said. Their van collided with a container truck about 2:30am.
Cartoonist free of charges
Political cartoonist Zulkifli Anwar Ulhaque — who goes by the pen name Zunar — yesterday said that nine sedition charges against him had been dropped. He was hit with nine counts of sedition in 2015, stemming not from his artistic work, but Twitter criticism about the jailing of former deputy prime minister and opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. At a hearing in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, prosecutors said the attorney-general’s office had decided it does not want to pursue the case and was withdrawing the charges against him. Zunar said he was happy with the decision, but added he would not be “absolutely happy until the government abolishes the Sedition Act.”
Liberals lose by-elections
The Liberal Party government of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull failed to win any of five by-elections held on Saturday, defeats seen as an indication that he is going to face an uphill battle to be re-elected in a national poll due by May next year. The Australian Electoral Commission on Sunday said four seats were retained by Labor and a fifth by the small Centre Alliance party. “We will look very seriously and thoughtfully and humbly at the way in which the voters have responded,” Turnbull said on Sunday.
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
AUSTRALIAN SITE: China has had a contract with SSC’s Yatharagga station since at least 2011, but the last time it used it was in June 2013. No final date has been given China would lose access to a strategic space tracking station in Western Australia when its contract expires, the facility’s owners said, a decision that cuts into Beijing’s expanding space exploration and navigational capabilities in the Pacific region. The Swedish Space Corp (SSC) has had a contract allowing Beijing access to the satellite antenna at the station since at least 2011. The station is located next to an SSC satellite station primarily used by the US and its agencies, including NASA. The Swedish state-owned company said it would not enter into any new contracts at the Australian site to support Chinese customers after
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
The scarcity of commercial flights landing at Sydney Airport has been a disaster for airlines and workers, but for hobby pilots the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the opportunity of a lifetime. The quieter-than-usual runways mean that private pilots have been given the chance to land at the international airport for the first time. When Sydney Flight College club captain Tim Lindley put out a call, he received an overwhelming response. He eventually organized for 14 light aircraft to fly into Sydney airport on Sunday. “For a lot of the pilots involved, including myself, it was a childhood dream to land in a big