Ambassador blasts UN
North Korea’s ambassador told UN rights diplomats in Geneva to “mind your own business” before they voted on Friday to demand that the country face international justice for crimes against humanity likened to Nazi-era atrocities. UN investigators said last month that security chiefs and possibly Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un himself should be tried for ordering systematic torture, starvation and killings, saying the crimes were “strikingly similar” to those committed during World War II. The UN Human Rights Council in Geneva adopted a resolution, brought by Japan and the EU and backed by the US and South Korea, calling for the UN Security Council to hold to account those responsible. Some 30 states voted in favor, six were against, with 11 abstaining. During the debate, North Korean ambassador So Se Pyong rejected the resolution, saying: “Mind your own business,” and drawing laughter from delegates on the last day of a four-week session to examine violations worldwide.
Xi talks about S China Sea
Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) said on Friday his country would not act aggressively regarding territorial claims in the South China Sea, but was determined to safeguard its interests there. “On the issue of the South China Sea, we will not provoke trouble ourselves, but we will not fear troubles provoked by others, either,” he said in a speech during a visit to Berlin. “When it comes to our sovereignty and territorial integrity, we will strongly safeguard these interests,” Xi said. China’s claims over islands, reefs and atolls in resource-rich waters of the South China Sea have set it directly against Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines, while Brunei and Malaysia have made claims, too.
Arms deal aids air force
Manila has signed contracts worth US$527 million to buy 12 fighter jets from South Korea and four combat-utility helicopters from Canada to boost the capability of its air force, one of the weakest in Southeast Asia. Armed Forces chief General Emmanuel Bautista signed a contract with Korean Aerospace Industries on Friday for 12 FA-50 fighters worth 18.9 billion pesos (US$420.4 million) and another contract with Canadian Commercial Corp for four Bell 412 combat utility helicopters worth 4.8 billion pesos. Deliveries are to start next year. The fighter jets contract is the biggest deal so far signed under the military’s long-delayed modernization program.
Court stays trial of marines
India’s top court suspended legal proceedings on Friday against two Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen while it examines a plea challenging prosecutors’ jurisdiction in the case. The case has soured diplomatic ties between New Delhi and Rome, which last month recalled its ambassador to India to protest delays in the court proceedings. Friday’s court order was in response to a petition filed by the marines challenging the right of India’s National Investigation Agency to investigate the case. Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone are accused of shooting the fishermen off southern coastal Kerala state in February 2012 while serving as security guards on an Italian-flagged cargo ship. The pair, who have been staying at the Italian embassy in New Delhi while on bail, say they only fired warning shots.
Morgan makes last plea
CNN host Piers Morgan ended his show’s three-year run with a plea for gun control. Morgan devoted the final minutes of Piers Morgan Live on Friday night to an issue that he said has been a consistent and often controversial part of the program. The British-born host cited gun violence statistics and expressed dismay that mass shootings including those in Newtown, Connecticut, and Aurora, Colorado, have not led to stricter laws.
Nurse charged with murder
A male nurse has been charged with the murder of three patients who were poisoned with contaminated medical products at a hospital, police said yesterday. Eight patients died following the poisoning at Stepping Hill hospital in Stockport, near Manchester, in northwest England, in June and July 2011. Victorino Chua, a 48-year-old father of two, has been charged with murdering three patients — Tracey Arden, 44, Arnold Lancaster, 71, and Derek Weaver, 83. He has also been charged with one count of causing grievous bodily harm with intent, 22 counts of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent and eight offenses of attempting to administer poison. Assistant Chief Constable Steve Heywood of Greater Manchester Police said: “Our thoughts continue to be with those people who were deliberately poisoned and their families. In close to three years we have conducted many painstaking inquiries and engaged with numerous medical experts. We are now at a point where we have charged Victorino Chua with a number of very serious offenses.”
Gunman in courthouse shot
Police shot and killed an armed man at the country’s busiest courthouse on the outskirts of Toronto on Friday after he entered the secure building and shot and wounded an officer. The unidentified shooter walked into the courthouse in Brampton, Ontario, at about 11am and “discharged a firearm,” injuring the policeman, a special investigative unit said in a statement. An exchange of fire is believed to have followed and the assailant was hit and later pronounced dead. “The bad guy is dead,” a policeman at the scene was quoted by the National Post as saying, while a police spokeswoman confirmed to public broadcaster CBC that “shots were fired within the courthouse.” Staff Sergeant Dan Richardson of the Peel Regional Police told a press conference that the wounded officer was being treated in hospital and is in stable condition.
Ex-teacher charged again
A former schoolteacher who spent five years in a Thai prison for sexually abusing children after an image of his digitally obscured face was reconstructed is facing 10 new charges. Police said on Friday that Christopher Paul Neil was arrested for sexual touching and child pornography production, which police say occurred in 2003 in Cambodia, and for possession of child pornography in 2007 in Canada. Neil taught in several Asian countries before being first arrested in 2007 following an international manhunt after hundreds of photographs of him allegedly engaging in sex acts with young boys were discovered on the Internet. Neil was arrested in Thailand after Interpol unscrambled swirled digital images from about 200 Internet photographs. He returned to Canada in 2012.