Thu, Nov 29, 2018 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

Agencies

SOUTH KOREA

North rail survey to start

North and South Korea are to begin a joint survey on reconnecting railways across their border this week, the Ministry of Unification said yesterday. Linking up the railway systems was one of the agreements made earlier this year between the two countries. A South Korean train is to depart from Seoul early tomorrow and cross the border on a 18-day joint mission to examine the North’s rail system. It would be the first time since 2007 a train from the South is to enter North Korea. The train is to have 28 South Korean passengers on board — mostly officials and experts — as well as 55,000 liters of fuel and other unspecified materials. “The actual construction will be pursued according to progress in North Korea’s denuclearization,” the ministry said.

FRANCE

Le Pen ordered to repay

An EU court yesterday rejected a bid by far-right leader Marine Le Pen to halt the repayment of parliamentary expenses she used to pay a bodyguard. Le Pen is under investigation for allegedly using European Parliament expenses to pay party political staff. In one such case, she is alleged to have wrongly used EU parliamentary funds to pay a bodyguard, Thierry Legier, more than 41,000 euros (US$46,256).

INDIA

Election to test sentiment

Millions voted yesterday in a state election seen as a key duel between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his main rival before the entire country goes to the polls next year. Modi’s right-wing Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party has governed the central state of Madhya Pradesh since 2003, having won three state elections in a row. However, polls suggest that the opposition Congress headed by Rahul Gandhi, scion of the Gandhi-Nehru dynasty, could win on the back of concerns about rising unemployment and by appealing to disgruntled farmers. The party has campaigned aggressively against three-time Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on issues of corruption and misgovernance. Chouhan has nevertheless sounded confident. The vote is one of five state elections this month and next that are a litmus test of Modi’s popularity ahead of general elections that have to take place before May, but for which no date has yet been announced. Results from all the state elections are due on Dec. 11. A defeat in the state would be a major setback for the party and dent Modi’s winning image.

UNITED STATES

Jeremic backs Patrick Ho

Former UN General Assembly president Vuk Jeremic on Tuesday said that he never witnessed “anything improper” on the part of prominent Hong Kong businessman Patrick Ho Chi-ping (何志平), on trial in New York City on charges of bribing government leaders in two African nations to land lucrative business deals for a Chinese oil and gas conglomerate. Jeremic reported to Ho when he worked as a consultant for CEFC China Energy. Jeremic told a federal jury that he connected Ho to high-ranking officials in several countries and opened diplomatic doors for CEFC as it expanded its business around the globe. However, in an interview following his hours-long testimony, Jeremic said he never had concerns about Ho’s dealings. Jeremic, who leads the opposition party in Serbia, said he has been “vilified” in his home country over his involvement in Ho’s proceedings. “It’s been portrayed as if I were on trial,” he said. “It was very important for me to clear Serbia’s name.”

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