Zhou attends event
Former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang (周永康) was all smiles yesterday as he attended an alumni celebration at his former university, his first public appearance since overseas media reported that he was being investigated for corruption. Zhou, 70, one of the most powerful politicians of the past decade, attended an alumni celebration at the China University of Petroleum, according to photographs posted by the university on its Web site. He was seen beaming and shaking hands.
Yoshinoya helps farmers
Fast-food chain Yoshinoya yesterday said it would grow rice and vegetables in Fukushima Prefecture, home to the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. Operator Yoshinoya Holdings said it had set up a joint venture with local farmers to grow rice, onions and cabbages in a 4.3 hectare field in Shirakawa, 80km from the plant. It will also build a facility to process vegetables for use in Yoshinoya restaurants, the firm said, adding strict radiation screening measures will be put in place. Farmers across Fukushima, a large area that was mainly unaffected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster, have complained about plunging produce prices.
Flood fears voiced
The Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department says floods have killed more than 20 people and affected areas across the country in the past two weeks, while concern is growing there could be a repeat of the 2011 floods that killed more than 800 people and devastated wide swathes of the kingdom. The department says 32 out of 77 provinces have seen flooding since the middle of last month and 23 people have been killed.
A court yesterday sentenced the founder of a pro-royalist protest movement to two years in jail for insulting the monarchy by repeating comments deemed offensive made by a political rival. Businessman Sondhi Limthongkul led so-called “yellow shirt” protests from 2005 to 2008 that undermined two governments. “The accused had no reason to repeat comments made by a political rival in a public space as repeating them made those words known to an even wider audience,” a judge told a Bangkok court.
Lawmaker proposes at work
A politician stunned his girlfriend and won new fans with a nationally televised wedding proposal in the House of Representatives. Francisco Ashley Acedillo, 36, got down on bended knee during a break in a budget debate on Friday last week. Acedillo yesterday said he lured his girlfriend of three years, Maria Paz Ocampo, 28, to Congress by telling her he was about to deliver an important speech. Acedillo said he was initially unsure of parliamentary protocol, but the House leadership gave him permission.
An opposition member of parliament was sentenced to death yesterday for war crimes, becoming the first lawmaker to be convicted for offenses committed during the 1971 war of independence. Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, a leader of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, was “found guilty of nine charges of war crimes, including genocide” and was sentenced to death, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam said.
Knox retrial to see new DNA
A judge presiding over the retrial of US student Amanda Knox on Monday ordered new DNA tests on the knife that prosecutors say was used to kill her British roommate in 2007. Knox and her Italian ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, were found guilty in 2009 of murdering 21-year-old Meredith Kercher. They were acquitted on appeal in 2011, but the acquittal was later quashed by the Supreme Court. Neither appeared in court on Monday for the first hearing in the retrial. Knox, now back home in Seattle, has said she will not be returning to Italy. Judge Alessandro Nencini will also hear new testimony from jailed Naples mafia member Luciano Aviello, who previously said his brother killed Kercher. The new checks on the presumed murder weapon will examine a trace that was not tested because experts said it was too small to produce reliable results.
Keita cuts France trip short
President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita was to cut short a visit to France yesterday amid renewed fighting between insurgents and the military at home. Insurgents launched a fresh attack against the Malian army in the rebel bastion of Kidal on Monday, the military told reporters, after weekend violence erupted following the breakdown of peace talks. Keita was to meet French President Francois Hollande yesterday morning as scheduled, but will then return home, shortening his trip by two days, a source in his entourage in Paris said.
BASE jumpers baffle police
New York security video footage shows two daredevils dressed in black floating in parachutes from a height of about 40 stories before landing on a street near the World Trade Center and disappearing into the night, police said on Monday. Investigators were studying that video and other footage to try to identify the parachutists and determine which high-rise they leapt from at about 3am. The jumpers landed about two blocks from each other on West Street.
Sentenced man married
The bride wore white; the groom wore shackles. The marriage of Danne Desbrow and his fiancee, Destiny, came just minutes after he was sentenced to 53 years to life in prison for first-degree murder, the Union-Tribune San Diego reported on Monday. San Diego Superior Court Judge Patricia Cookson officiated at both events. She even baked a cake for the Sept. 17 ceremony, the newspaper said. Desbrow was sentenced for the 2003 killing of Kevin Santos. His defense attorney argued Desbrow was defending himself in a fight. During the two-month trial, Desbrow proposed to his girlfriend. The two met in high school, but lost contact after she became pregnant at 16, the paper said. They reunited in January after the mother tracked down Desbrow so their son could meet his father.
Pussy Riot member given IV
Jailed Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova has been put on an IV drip in hospital on the eighth day of her hunger strike, a prison doctor said on Monday. Tolokonnikova went on hunger strike on Sept. 23, releasing an open letter in which she described harrowing conditions at her prison and claimed she had received death threats over her complaints. The head of her penal colony, Alexander Kulagin, said on state TV that she would be force-fed glucose via her drip if her health worsened. “We are primarily humane people and therefore we will use [this] if her state of health gets worse,” he said.
An Australian university student who has never visited China and has only a modest social media following would seem an unlikely target for the Chinese government. However, when a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman personally denounced Drew Pavlou at a news conference, it was just the next phase in an extraordinary campaign against the 21-year-old that has fueled concerns over China’s targeting of critics overseas. Pavlou first placed himself in the superpower’s sights when in July last year he organized a small sit-in at the University of Queensland, where he studies, to protest against various Chinese government policies. Since then, the Global
‘ASKED TO MOVE OUT’: Indonesian coast guard personnel argued with a Chinese vessel over territorial claims after it entered the country’s exclusive economic zone An Indonesian patrol ship confronted a Chinese coast guard vessel that spent almost three days in waters where Indonesia claims economic rights and that are near the southernmost part of China’s disputed claims to the South China Sea. The Indonesian Maritime Security Agency on Friday night detected Chinese ship 5204 entering Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in what Indonesia calls the North Natuna Sea. The agency sent a patrol ship that closed within 1km of the Chinese coast guard vessel and they communicated to affirm their position and their nation’s claims to the area, Indonesian Maritime Security Agency head Aan Kurnia said. “We
BEFORE WINTER COMES: Snow cuts off roads into Ladakh for four months or more each year, so the crunch is on to get food, tents and high-altitude equipment to Leh From deploying mules to large transport aircraft, the Indian military has activated its entire logistics network to transport supplies to thousands of troops for a harsh winter along a bitterly disputed Himalayan border with China. In the past few months, one of India’s biggest military logistics exercises in years has brought vast quantities of ammunition, equipment, fuel, winter supplies and food into Ladakh, a region bordering Tibet that India administers as a union territory, officials said. The move was triggered by a border standoff with China in the snow deserts of Ladakh that began in May and escalated in June into hand-to-hand
Since her personal telephone number was posted online, Hong Kong democracy advocate and Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions chairperson Carol Ng has received menacing calls from strangers and been bombarded with messages calling her a “cockroach.” She is not alone. A sophisticated and shady Web site called HK Leaks has ramped up its “doxxing” — where people’s personal details are published online — of Hong Kong democracy advocates, targeting those it says have broken Hong Kong’s National Security Law. Promoted by groups linked to the Chinese Chinese Communist Party and hosted on Russia-based servers, HK Leaks has become the most prominent “doxxing”