Thu, Feb 21, 2019 - Page 7 News List

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‘Ivory Queen’ given 15 years

A Chinese businesswoman dubbed the “Ivory Queen” on Tuesday was sentenced to 15 years in prison by a Tanzanian court for smuggling the tusks of more than 350 elephants, weighing nearly 2 tonnes, to Asia. Yang Fenglan (楊鳳蘭) had been charged in October 2015 along with two Tanzanian men with smuggling 860 pieces of ivory between 2000 and 2004 worth 13 billion shillings (US$5.57 million). All three denied the charges. Yang, 69, has lived in Tanzania since the 1970s and was secretary-general of the Tanzania China-Africa Business Council, police sources said. A Swahili-speaker, she also owns a popular Chinese restaurant in Dar es Salaam. Kisutu Court Magistrate Huruma Shaidi sentenced Yang, Salivius Matembo and Manase Philemon to 15 years each, after they were convicted of leading an organized criminal gang. Shaidi ordered them to either pay twice the market value of the tusks or face another two years in prison.


Oil spill near heritage reef

Oil has started leaking from a bulk carrier stranded on a coral reef near World Heritage-listed waters, villagers said yesterday. The Hong Kong-flagged MV Solomon Trader ran aground on Feb. 5 while loading bauxite at Rennell Island, but heavy seas whipped up by Tropical Cyclone Oma have thwarted salvage attempts. The 225m vessel was now starting to leak oil, locals said. “We’re starting to see a slick,” Derek Pongi said. “It’s not that big, but it’s hard to tell because the weather’s still rough.” Rennell Island is the largest raised coral atoll in the world and includes a UNESCO World Heritage site which extends kilometers out to sea. Locals fear a major environmental disaster, Pongi said. “The people here depend on the sea for all their needs,” he said. “It would make life very hard for them.”


‘Cow vigilantes’ kill 44

Radical cow protection groups have killed at least 44 people over the past three years and often received support from police and Hindu nationalist politicians, Human Rights Watch said this week. Its 104-page report examines Hindu nationalist vigilante attacks and said that 36 of the dead were Muslim. About 280 people have been injured in more than 100 attacks between May 2015 and December last year, the report said, without providing statistics for the previous comparable period. Members of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party have “increasingly used communal rhetoric that has spurred a violent vigilante campaign against beef consumption and those deemed linked to it,” the group said.


Ex-PM denies China op-ed

Former New Zealand prime minister Jenny Shipley has denied writing an article in a Chinese state-run daily effusively praising Beijing. The article titled “We need to learn to listen to China” was published on Monday under Shipley’s byline in the People’s Daily and heaped praise on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) Belt and Road Initiative. The piece appears to be based on an interview with Shipley in December last year by the China Daily. An appendix to the People’s Daily online article was changed yesterday from “The author is former prime minister of New Zealand” to “Dame Jenny Shipley is former prime minister of New Zealand. The article is based on the interview by journalist with People’s Daily on December 2018.”

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