Xi arrives in Indonesia
Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) yesterday made his first visit to Southeast Asia since taking office, arriving in Indonesia to boost ties and economic partnerships with the region’s biggest country. He was due to meet Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono yesterday and is due to become the first foreign leader to speak at the country’s parliament today. The countries are expected to sign agreements on loans, mining, transportation and joint investment. Investment deals for monorails in the capital, Jakarta, and the West Java provincial capital of Bandung are also planned.
Dissident handed jail term
A court has sentenced a US-trained lawyer and well-known dissident to 30 months in jail yestersday after finding him guilty on tax evasion charges. The verdict against Le Quoc Quan was immediately criticized by the US, which is pressing the nation to loosen restrictions on those advocating democracy and human rights. Washington, along with human rights groups and others observers, considers the charges against Quan to be politically motivated. Quan, who maintained a popular blog that highlighted human rights abuses and other issues off-limits to the state media, proclaimed his innocence throughout the one-day trial. Hundreds of his supporters braved a security crackdown to rally in the normally sleepy capital.
Pussy Riot strike ends
A jailed member of Russian punk band Pussy Riot on Tuesday ended an eight-day hunger strike she had staged to draw attention to what she called “slave labor conditions” in prison. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova was jailed in August last year, alongside fellow band member Maria Alekhina, on “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” charges stemming from a protest they held against President Vladimir Putin in Moscow’s main cathedral. The regional prison authority in the republic of Mordovia where Tolokonnikova is serving time said the 23-year-old “ended the hunger strike and started consuming food” on Tuesday morning.
Thief caught green-faced
A thief was caught not so much red-handed as green-faced in London after breaking into a car that sprayed him with a liquid that glows emerald under ultraviolet light. Yafet Askale, 28, denied entering the vehicle that police set up with a dye-trap in Harlesden, northwest London, to catch thieves in June, but he was found guilty of stealing objects inside the car after police produced photos showing his face covered with the liquid, invisible under normal light. Askale was sentenced to 49 hours of community service and ordered to pay ￡400 (US$650) costs on Friday. Police released photos of Askale on Monday, warning they had set up similar traps in cars and houses.
‘Cowards’ to be rehabilitated
They were mostly young, rank-and-file soldiers, exhausted and shell-shocked. One day they simply refused to take part in another raid, ignored orders or refused to get in line for inspection. Shot by firing squad, the disgraced, so-called cowards are now largely seen as traumatized victims of the horror of World War I, but they are not counted in the memorials dotting the country and President Francois Hollande is under pressure to restore their good name. Options put forward include a speech by Hollande rehabilitating them and the construction of a memorial.
Retired officers arrested
A judge has ordered the arrest of three retired senior military officers on Tuesday and the house arrest of seven more on charges of committing crimes against humanity almost 30 years ago. The retired officers, who are in their 60s, 70s and 80s, are accused of crimes including torture, kidnappings and sexual violence that were allegedly committed in 1985 against three members of an armed leftist revolutionary group. A spokesman for the National Court of Justice said more evidence will be gathered in the next three months.
Homeless man runs amok
A mentally disturbed US homeless man slashed and stabbed five people with a pair of scissors in a New York park on Tuesday, police said. The man struck in broad daylight in Riverside Park on the Upper West Side near the Hudson River. A 36-year-old woman out jogging was stabbed in the back, a 35-year-old man walking his dog was stabbed in the stomach and a 32-year-old female jogger had her neck slashed. A father walking with his one-year-old son tried to intervene before being stabbed in the abdomen. The toddler was lightly hurt in the arm, police said. A member of the public overpowered the attacker, who was identified as Julius Graham, 43.
Rambo’s lawyer concerned
A New York lawyer told a federal judge he is concerned about the mental and emotional stability of a former soldier known as Rambo as he faces charges he plotted to kill a federal agent. Attorney Marlon Kirton says client Joseph Hunter seemed about to cry on Tuesday before his court appearance. The judge says she may order an evaluation if the Manhattan prison where he is being held does not do one. The concern came at a hearing in which two of Hunter’s co-defendants pleaded not guilty. All three were charged with conspiring to kill a Drug Enforcement Administration agent for US$800,000.
Escort boss executed
A former escort service owner convicted of killing two women in the 1980s has been executed in Florida for the death of one of those women, an exotic dancer. Marshall Lee Gore, 49, was pronounced dead at 6:12pm on Tuesday following an injection at Florida State Prison. He had spent 23 years on death row. Gore was sentenced to die for the March 1988 killing of Robyn Novick, a 30-year-old exotic dancer whose naked body was found in Miami-Dade County. Gore also was convicted of killing another woman. Tuesday was the fourth time Gore’s planned execution was scheduled this year. Twice, courts put it on hold due to insanity claims and once because of a conflict with one of Attorney-General Pam Bondi’s political fundraising events.
Police find 907kg of pot
Police say they seized 907kg of marijuana during a routine traffic stop in a rural community. The Jamaica Constabulary Force said on Tuesday that lawmen signaled the driver of a truck to stop in the northern parish of St Mary. They say that a search of the truck led to the discovery of 53 bags and two buckets stuffed with pot. Four people were taken into custody, but only one was arrested. The country is the Caribbean’s largest producer and exporter of marijuana. Plants are grown mostly on remote hillsides or hidden among other crops. Marijuana has been pervasive, but illegal on the Caribbean island since 1913.