At least 42 people were killed as rebels in nearly a dozen towns rampaged, prompting fears of a plot to oust embattled President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. \nAfter sporadic gunbattles on Monday, police regained control of the important port city of St. Marc, 72km west of Port-au-Prince. At least two men were shot and another was allegedly shot and killed by Aristide supporters. His body was left on a roadside. \n"The national police force alone cannot re-establish order," Prime Minister Yvon Neptune told reporters in St. Marc on the first visit to any of the affected towns by a senior government official. \n"The violence is tied to a coup d'etat," he said the day before. \nIn Port-au-Prince, the capital, a coalition of opposition political parties met to discuss whether they should join the rebels. By late Monday, they had distanced themselves from the uprising. \n"We do not recognize ourselves in the armed insurrection but in the peaceful struggle of the people for democracy," said Mischa Gaillard, an opposition politician who met with the Democratic Platform Monday. "We deplore violence." \nThe uprising began on Thursday in Haiti's fourth-largest city of Gonaives and signals a dangerous turning point in Haiti's three-year political crisis. A similar revolt in 1985 also began in Gonaives and led to the ouster of the 29-year Duvalier family dictatorship. \n"We are in a situation of armed popular insurrection," said opposition politician Himler Rebu, who led a failed coup against Lieutenant-General Prosper Avril in 1989. \nTension has mounted since Aristide's party won flawed legislative elections in 2000 and international donors blocked millions of dollars in aid. \nMisery has also deepened with most of the nation's 8 million people living without jobs and on less than US$1 day despite election promises from Aristide, a former priest who had vowed to bring dignity to the poor. \nWith no army and fewer than 5,000 poorly armed police, the government is ill-equipped to halt the revolt. \nPolice stations have been a major target because they symbolize Aristide's authority and officers are accused of siding with government supporters. \nSince capturing Gonaives, a city of 200,000 people, the rebels have spread to towns to the west and north, including the Artibonite valley that is the breadbasket of Haiti. \nSome residents fled western Grand-Goave with belongings perched on their heads on Monday, the day after rebels torched the police station. Insurgents also set ablaze stations in the northern towns of St. Raphael and Dondon, where police launched counterattacks and wounded two rebels, according to Radio Vision 2000. \nIt reported that police in Dondon repulsed the rebels, and that afterward government supporters torched houses of nine anti-Aristide leaders. On the highway near Grand-Goave, police fired into the air to disperse a large crowd of clashing protesters who were for and against the government. One man, identified as an Aristide partisan, was shot and killed but it was not clear by whom. \nUN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said the UN "will be stepping up our own involvement fairly soon" but did not elaborate.
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
AUSTRALIAN SITE: China has had a contract with SSC’s Yatharagga station since at least 2011, but the last time it used it was in June 2013. No final date has been given China would lose access to a strategic space tracking station in Western Australia when its contract expires, the facility’s owners said, a decision that cuts into Beijing’s expanding space exploration and navigational capabilities in the Pacific region. The Swedish Space Corp (SSC) has had a contract allowing Beijing access to the satellite antenna at the station since at least 2011. The station is located next to an SSC satellite station primarily used by the US and its agencies, including NASA. The Swedish state-owned company said it would not enter into any new contracts at the Australian site to support Chinese customers after
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
The scarcity of commercial flights landing at Sydney Airport has been a disaster for airlines and workers, but for hobby pilots the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the opportunity of a lifetime. The quieter-than-usual runways mean that private pilots have been given the chance to land at the international airport for the first time. When Sydney Flight College club captain Tim Lindley put out a call, he received an overwhelming response. He eventually organized for 14 light aircraft to fly into Sydney airport on Sunday. “For a lot of the pilots involved, including myself, it was a childhood dream to land in a big