Park ‘disappoints’ Tokyo
The government is “extremely disappointed” that South Korean President Park Geun-hye sees no point in a summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told reporters said yesterday. The comments come after Park said during a BBC interview that a sit-down would get the two sides nowhere while Tokyo refuses to apologize for “past wrongdoings.” Abuses carried out during Japan’s repressive 1910 to 1945 colonial rule remain a source of deep anger and resentment in South Korea, particularly the treatment of women forced to work as “comfort women” in wartime military brothels. “Japan has been explaining to the South Korean side our position over past issues such as perceptions on history and comfort women, and we’ve asked them to accept it,” Kato said.
Leung seeks Manila apology
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying (梁振英) threatened sanctions against the Philippines yesterday over a row involving the deaths of its tourists in a 2010 hostage crisis in Manila. The government is demanding a formal apology for the incident, which saw eight of its citizens killed and seven others wounded after negotiations broke down between Philippine authorities and a former police officer who hijacked a tour bus. “Unless, within a month, there are concrete steps taken to resolve this issue, the government will take necessary actions to apply sanctions,” Leung told reporters yesterday. Philippine President Benigno Aquino III has refused to make an apology on behalf of Manila, insisting the deaths were primarily caused by the actions of the hostage-taker. Manila has offered compensation of US$75,000 to each family of the deceased and up to US$150,000 to those injured, media reports said, but the families say the amount was too low.
Talks to name PM halted
The ruling Ennahda Movement and opposition parties suspended talks on Monday over forming a caretaker government to end a national crisis after they failed to agree on a new prime minister. It was not clear when negotiations would restart. The government has already agreed to step down later this month to make way for a temporary administration that will govern until elections, but the two sides remain deeply split over details of their agreement. General Labor Union secretary-general Hussein Abassi said the union, which brokered the talks, may propose candidates if the parties fail to reach agreement.
Hackers march on parliament
About 100 masked members of the hacking group Anonymous Philippines marched on parliament yesterday, denouncing corruption and pledging more cyberattacks, a week after 30 government Web sites were paralysed. The hackers, wearing Guy Fawkes masks, faced off with dozens of riot police outside the House of Representatives in Quezon City, blocking the road and bringing traffic to a standstill for about an hour. “We are here today to press for a new system of government,” one of the leaders said. “We are everyone and anyone. We will not go away and we will continue with our activities.” Mostly dressed in black, the hackers chanted anti-government slogans and held placards that read: “The corrupt fear us, the honest support us, the heroic, join us.” The government has said it will prosecute members of the group, but has conceded it is yet to determine their identities.
Mall gunman found dead
A 20-year-old man suspected of firing multiple shots and causing a lockdown at New Jersey’s largest shopping mall was found dead of a self-inflicted wound, officials said yesterday. Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli said the body of Richard Shoop of Teaneck, was found in a back area of the Garden State Plaza mall in Paramus and that he had killed himself with the same weapon he used earlier. Chaos erupted on Monday night shortly before the mall’s 9:30pm closing time when authorities said a man dressed in black and wearing what is believed to be a motorcycle helmet fired shots. There were no other injuries.
Spy activities confirmed
The government confirmed on Monday that its intelligence service targeted US, Russian, Iranian and Iraqi diplomats and property during spy activities carried out about a decade ago in Brasilia. The relatively low-key surveillance was reported by the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper, based on intelligence service documents it obtained from an undisclosed source. The revelation forced the government to defend its espionage while remaining the loudest critic of the US’ National Security Agency (NSA) programs that have aggressively targeted communications in the nation, including the personal telephone and email of President Dilma Rousseff.
NSA’s spying denounced
Foreign Minister Elias Jaua on Monday denounced a new report that the US made Caracas a spying priority, and warned that bilateral ties would remain frozen. “It is unacceptable that they’re spying on us,” he told a news conference in Mexico City after talks with Mexican counterpart Jose Antonio Meade. The New York Times reported on Sunday that Venezuela was one of six “enduring targets” in the NSA’s official mission list from 2007. Citing documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the newspaper said the agency monitored the government and personal emails of the top 10 Venezuelan economic officials. “The revelations show once more the reasons why we regrettably cannot have good relations with the United States,” Jaua said.
Bus hijacker kills three
Three people were killed when a man armed with a knife hijacked a bus on Monday. Police commissioner Ronny Iden told reporters that the suspect, a 31-year-old man originally from South Sudan, lived in Aardal, near the scene of the attack. The victims were two men in their 50s — the bus driver and a Swedish passenger — and a 19-year-old woman, police said, adding that they were the only ones on the bus besides the suspect. The suspect also suffered knife wounds and is hospitalized in Bergen. He was overpowered by firefighters who responded to what they believed was a traffic accident.
Axe thrower scares burglar
Police say a Southern California woman can throw a mean axe — and she used one to chase a burglar from her home. Hemet police say the woman called police on Saturday morning and said she had been awakened by a man trying to remove her watch from her wrist. The woman is a tomahawk-throwing champion, and she quickly grabbed a throwing axe and chased the man out of the apartment. Police found a man hiding behind some nearby bushes, along with property belonging to the woman. Nicholas Ulloa, 22, was arrested on suspicion of burglary.