Briton guilty of murder
The Phuket provincial court yesterday sentenced a British kickboxer to 25 years in jail for the 2010 murder of a former US marine on the resort island. The court found Lee Aldhouse guilty of stabbing to death Dashawn Longfellow after being beaten by the American during a brawl at a Phuket bar. The court reduced Aldhouse’s sentence from a life sentence because he pleaded guilty. Aldhouse was a semi-professional kickboxer who fought under the nickname “Pitbull.” He had been living on-and-off in Phuket, where Longfellow was also studying the sport. Aldhouse was extradited to Thailand last year in the first case of extradition of a criminal suspect from England to Thailand.
Independence fighter dies
The last member of the legendary “Thirty Comrades” — the group that spearheaded the struggle against British colonialism — has died. Ye Htut, 91, died of old age at a hospital in Yangon, family members said. The Thirty Comrades were led by General Aung San, father of democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. During World War II, they went to Japan for training to fight British colonizers in what was then known as Burma. Aung San later negotiated independence from Britain, but was assassinated before it happened in 1948. Ye Htut served in the Burmese army before independence, but went underground and joined the banned Burma Communist Party in 1948. He was involved in the 1988 pro-democracy movement.
Suu Kyi meets Abbott
Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi met with Prime Minister Tony Abbott yesterday as she travels the country seeking backing for changes to Myanmar’s constitution, which currently prevents her from becoming president. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate met with Abbott and later spoke to journalists about her fight for fair elections. “We are just starting out on the road to democracy,” she said. “Without amendments to the constitution, we can never become a truly democratic society.” Abbott voiced his support for “free and fair elections in Burma,” adding that “they should be conducted on the proverbial level playing field.”
More low-enriched uranium
Tehran plans to increase its production of uranium enriched at a low level, its official news agency reported yesterday. IRNA quoted nuclear department head Ali Akbar Salehi as saying that machines that were earlier producing 20 percent enriched uranium would be engaged in producing low-level enriched uranium. “Hence, the production of 5 percent enriched uranium will increase,” he said, while production of “20 percent enriched uranium will halt.”
‘Tehelka’ managing ed quits
The managing editor of the investigative magazine Tehelka resigned yesterday after coming under fire over her handling of allegations that the publication’s founder sexually assaulted a young reporter. In an e-mail to staff, Shoma Chaudhury denied being part of a “cover-up” to protect Tehelka’s founder and editor Tarun Tejpal, who is under investigation over claims he sexually assaulted the woman in a hotel in the state of Goa. However, Chaudhury, who announced last week that Tejpal was standing aside for six months over what he has described as “a bad lapse of judgement,” acknowledged that “she could have done many things differently.” The alleged victim has resigned from the magazine.
Aid for US spies: report
Canada allowed the US National Security Agency to conduct widespread surveillance during the 2010 Group of 20 summit in Toronto, according to a Canadian Broadcasting Corp report that cited documents from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The report by CBC News on Wednesday cited briefing notes it said showed the US turned its Ottawa embassy building into a security command post during a six-day spying operation by the top-secret US agency as US President Barack Obama and other world leaders met that June. Reuters has not seen the documents and cannot verify their authenticity. The report said the operation was no secret to authorities, with an NSA briefing note describing the operation as “closely coordinated with the Canadian partner.”
Storm fears ease for east
A wet and windy storm hit the east coast on one of the busiest holiday travel days of the year, but it was not the disaster that many had feared. Flight cancelations piled up at hubs such as New York’s LaGuardia Airport, Philadelphia and Newark, and by midday on Wednesday about 250 flights had been canceled, according to the tracking Web site FlightAware.com. That was a tiny fraction of the nearly 32,000 flights that were scheduled to, from or within the US on Wednesday, the Web site said.
Former minister charged
The main investigative agency has filed charges against former minister of defense Anatoly Serdyukov, accusing him of using servicemen and government funds to build a road to a vacation home and do landscaping work on the property. If convicted, he could face up to five years in prison. President Vladimir Putin fired Serdyukov a year ago over a corruption scandal, but most military experts believed his ouster reflected a behind-the-scenes power struggle. Serdyukov had overseen a radical defense reform that drastically cut the numbers of officers.
Militant group blacklisted
The Security Council has blacklisted an al-Qaeda-affiliated militant and his network for allegedly being linked to the attack on the US diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya. The council’s antiterrorism committee has listed Muhammad Jamal and his Muhammad Jamal Network for running camps in Libya to train foreign militants and for being “reportedly involved in the attack on the US Mission in Benghazi” on Sept. 11 last year, according to Australian ambassador Gary Quinlan, the chairman of the committee. The Security Council reviewed the work of its al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee on Wednesday.
Auction raises ire
A south London council raised millions of pounds on Wednesday after controversially selling Chinese antique ceramic items at a Christie’s auction in Hong Kong. The collection, including vases, bowls and boxes, fetched a total of HK$102.4 million (US$13.2 million) for Croydon Council — with a blue-and-white Ming Dynasty moonflask the most expensive item at HK$28.1 million. The auction was opposed by Britain’s Museums Association, which described it as a “breach of the code of ethics.” The council resigned from the Museums Association, which in turn barred Croydon from future membership. Park Sung-hee, a spokeswoman for Christie’s, said the proceeds would be used to improve the borough’s cultural amenities.