Opposition sues poll body
The opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) yesterday accused three top National Election Committee officials and their accomplices of faking voter names on the electoral roll, using “fake election results” and abusing the election law. “These are criminal offenses,” senior CNRP official Kuy Bunroeun said after the lawsuit was filed at the Phnom Penh municipal court. “We are filing a complaint to find justice for the people,” he added. “The results are not acceptable.” According to final results released by the commission on Sunday Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s Party won 68 seats in the July polls against 55 for the opposition.
Tokyo hangs sixth this year
A 73-year-old man convicted of murder and robbery was hanged yesterday, the nation’s sixth execution of the year. The Ministry of Justice said the hanging was carried out in Tokyo. The man had shot dead a restaurant owner in 2004, stealing his bag containing ￥400,000 (US$4,000) in cash. Tokyo executed three inmates in February and two in April. There are 132 inmates currently on death row.
UN pans refugee expulsion
At least 20,000 Burundian refugees living in Tanzania have been forcibly repatriated over the past month, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Catherine Huck said yesterday, describing a “dramatic” humanitarian situation. Close to a million refugees fled from Burundi to Tanzania when civil war broke out in 1993, and most returned voluntarily after the conflict in their country ended in 2006. However, patience appears to have run out in Tanzania, which has hosted millions of refugees over the past decades from conflicts across Africa’s Great Lakes region, and authorities have been accelerating expulsions of refugees from Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Huck said trucks carrying hundreds of refugees were crossing the border each day, with many of those expelled without access to shelter or water.
Man jailed for subversion
Hanoi has sentenced a former army officer to 15 years in jail for plotting to overthrow the communist regime, a court official said yesterday, in the latest crackdown on dissent. Ngo Hao, 65, who served under the US-backed regime in South Vietnam during the Vietnam War, was convicted at a trial in Phu Yen Province on Wednesday, the official said. He was accused of activities seeking a multiparty political system under the instruction of the Bloc 8406 pro-democracy movement, which is banned in the nation, media reports said.
Man freed in ‘octopus death’
The Supreme Court yesterday upheld the acquittal of a 32-year-old man sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering his girlfriend, whom he said choked to death on a live octopus. Fueled by accusations of police incompetence, the case has received wide public attention. “Indirect, circumstantial evidence is insufficient to support the charge that the accused killed the woman by suffocating her,” the court said in a statement, upholding an April ruling by an appeals court. The man, identified only as Mr Kim, checked into a motel in Incheon City with his girlfriend in April 2010 after buying two live octopuses from a restaurant. He later called reception to say his girlfriend had collapsed after eating one of them. She was taken to hospital, but died 16 days later.
Pledge to work with Brazil
The White House on Wednesday tried to smooth over a diplomatic row with Brazil, pledging to address concerns caused by reports that it had spied on President Dilma Rousseff and hacked into the computer networks of state-run oil company Petrobras. National Security Advisor Susan Rice met with Brazilian Foreign Minister Luiz Alberto Figueiredo to discuss Brasilia’s questions about documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.
Anger over dropped charges
The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) on Wednesday expressed serious concern that charges had been dropped against a man charged in a 1997 attack on a journalist. Marco Antonio Quinones, known as “El Pato,” had been accused of an assassination attempt that wounded Jesus Blancornelas, editor of the weekly Zeta, and killed his bodyguard. A court ruling recently dismissed the charges. IAPA expressed what it called its “highest level” complaint to the government for its failings in prosecuting the attack against Blancornelas, “which remains unpunished after 14 years,” the group said in a statement.
Oil on train was mislabeled
The oil that sparked a massive explosion when a train derailed in Quebec in July, killing 47 people, was as far lighter and more flammable than it was represented, investigators said Wednesday. The Transportation Safety Board said it has alerted US transportation authorities that the North Dakota crude was not correctly documented. The oil was labeled “category three” — the least dangerous category, used for conventional crude oil — but should have been classed as “category two” for more combustible substances.
Pouting over pandas
China’s panda diplomacy has left Dutch speakers angry that two loaned bears will go to a zoo in the French-speaking region of the country. Beijing offered to lend the giant pandas during a visit by Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo this week. The bears will go to Pairi Daiza, a wildlife park in Wallonia, not far from Di Rupo’s home. Zuhal Demir, a lawmaker from the Flemish separatist N-VA party, said it was clear that Di Rupo had intervened to ensure the pandas went to the French-speaking south rather than the Antwerp Zoo in Dutch-speaking Flanders.
Naked rambler cleared
A naturist who liked to stroll naked in the woods of the Dordogne region has been acquitted of sexual exhibitionism charges. A court in Perigueux accepted the 52-year-old man’s defense that he was no flasher after hearing testimony that he had once suffered an eye-watering injury after jumping into bushes to spare the blushes of a passer-by. Lawyer Tewfik Bouzenoune hailed the judgement as a victory for naturists everywhere. “The court has made a distinction between sexual exhibitionism and naturism,” he said. “This was not about naked rambling, it is about people practicing naturism with precautions. One of the precautions my client took was to always have clothing to hand so that he could hide his private parts. He wasn’t trying to be provocative.” The charges were brought after a complaint by a female walker who spotted the unclothed man from a distance and then, accompanied by her grandson, approached him to make sure he really was naked.