Aung San Suu Kyi not voting
Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi will not vote in upcoming by-elections despite running for a seat in parliament, an official with her party said on Monday. Even though Aung Sang Suu Kyi will be running for her National League for Democracy in the southern Yangon district of Kawhmu on April 1, she will not vote there because she does not live in the district, party spokesman Thein Oo said. Thein Oo said that to register to vote in Kawhmu, Aung Sang Suu Kyi would have to change her home’s registration from where she lives now in a central district of Yangon, which is a complicated procedure. As there is no by-election in Aung Sang Suu Kyi’s home district, she will not vote at all.
Karzai Twitter account fake
The presidency confirmed on Monday that a fake Twitter account had been set up in the name of President Hamid Karzai. The handle @PresHamidKarzai, which began tweeting on Monday with the announcement: “Welcome to my Official Twitter Account. Hamid Karzai,” was not authentic, deputy presidential spokesman Siamak Hirawai said. The account was not officially verified by the microblogging Web site and the second tweet raised further suspicions by describing Sunday’s killing spree of 16 civilians by a US soldier as “an act of war against our country.” “I deny such tweets are tweeted on behalf of the presidential palace of Afghanistan. The president does not have any account nor [does] he use Twitter,” Hirawai said.
Gun ring broken up
A criminal syndicate smuggling black-market handguns into Sydney from Germany was smashed yesterday with three people arrested, police said. The arrests were made by officers from Strike Force Maxworthy, which was established last month to investigate the import racket with the help of the German Federal Police. “Today, a number of search warrants have been executed in Sydney, Australia, and Remscheid, Germany,” New South Wales state police said. “Three men have been arrested in Sydney and are assisting police with their inquiries.”
Deaths to be probed
Inquests will be held into the deaths of 16 people killed during a crackdown on Red Shirt anti-government protests two years ago, a prosecutor said yesterday. More than 90 people, mostly civilians, were killed and nearly 1,900 wounded during the 2010 rallies, which ended in a bloody military operation under then-prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, who is now opposition leader. An initial hearing was held on Monday, but examination of 41 witnesses in the case will not begin until mid-June.
Legislators fight envoys
Lawmakers scuffled with North Korean delegates in Switzerland at a UN meeting on the North’s human rights abuses. Footage from Yonhap news agency shot on Monday showed several lawmakers trying to grab a North Korean diplomat leaving the UN meeting as they chanted slogans against China’s policy of repatriating North Korean defectors. The lawmakers were pushed away by security and North Korean delegates. The incident comes amid reports that China is returning dozens of North Koreans to their homeland instead of letting them defect to the South. Yonhap said the North’s diplomat left the conference after denying a UN human rights envoy’s criticism of his country.
Cheney cancels trip
Former US vice president Dick Cheney canceled a speaking appearance because of security concerns sparked by demonstrations during a visit he made to Vancouver last fall. Cheney was scheduled to talk about his experiences in office and the current political situation in the US at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on April 24. However, Ryan Ruppert of Spectre Live Corp said on Monday that Cheney and his daughter Elizabeth had “decided it was better for their personal safety they stay out of Canada.” On Sept. 26 last year, Cheney was forced to stay holed up in the Vancouver Club for seven hours before it was deemed safe for him to leave. Demonstrators blocked the entrances and at one point scuffled with police.
Gold market robbed
Gunmen with rifles and hand grenades blasted their way into a row of Baghdad goldsmith shops on Monday, killing nine people and wounding 15, and escaping with gold and cash, police said. Police said the gunmen stormed the al-Aswad gold market in Baghdad’s northeastern Ur district. They killed two gold shop owners, two policemen, two soldiers and three passersby. Hospital sources confirmed the death toll. “Gunmen in two to three vehicles broke into the gold shops and started firing. Some gunmen were shooting at people standing outside to enable other gunmen to steal gold,” a policeman at the scene said by telephone.
Condom record set
The government said it handed out nearly a half-billion free condoms last year — a record for the nation’s campaign to reduce AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. The Health Ministry said it distributed 493 million condoms last year. That is two-and-a-half condoms for every person in Latin America’s largest nation. They cost the government about US$19 million. The ministry said the government buys and distributes more condoms than any other nation. About 90 percent of all condoms used in Brazil are provided by the government.
Trafficker pleads guilty
The nephew of a powerful former Mexican drug cartel lord pleaded guilty on Monday to a drug trafficking conspiracy that stretched across the US. Rafael Cardenas Vela, 38, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and more than a half tonne of marijuana at a hearing before District Judge Andrew Hanen in Brownsville, Texas. Cardenas Vela is the nephew of Osiel Cardenas, the former leader of the brutal Gulf cartel, who was extradited from Mexico in 2007 and is now serving a 25-year sentence. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents detained Cardenas Vela during an undercover operation outside a lavish ranch home where he was staying north of Brownsville in October last year.
Inmate sneaks out for sex
A male inmate in the maximum-security section of a Maine jail has breached security by sneaking into another wing for sex with a female inmate. The sheriff’s office says the 23-year-old man from Biddeford was caught crawling between cell blocks on Friday night as he was returning to his cell at the Cumberland County Jail. Officials say a video shows how he entered the women’s cell block, going through four doors to access the cell of a 25-year-old woman he apparently knew.
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
The Australian government yesterday said that it plans to give Google and Facebook three months to negotiate with media businesses fair pay for news content. In releasing a draft of a mandatory code of conduct, Canberra aims to succeed where other nations have failed in making tech firms pay for news siphoned from commercial media companies. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that Google and Facebook would be the first platforms targeted by the proposed legislation, but others could follow. “It’s about a fair go for Australian news media businesses, it’s about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection and a sustainable
SURGE CONTINUES: India recorded its steepest spike of more than 57,000 new virus cases in 24 hours, as Vietnam went from no virus deaths to reporting three South Korean prosecutors yesterday arrested the elderly leader of a secretive religious sect as part of an investigation into allegations that the church hampered the government’s COVID-19 response after thousands of worshipers were infected in February and March. Prosecutors in the central city of Suwon have been questioning 88-year-old Lee Man-hee, chairman of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, over charges that the church hid some members and underreported gatherings to avoid broader quarantines. The Suwon District Court granted prosecutors’ request to arrest Lee over concerns that he could temper with evidence. Lee and his church have steadfastly denied the accusations, saying they are