Soldier gets 5,160-year term
A court on Wednesday sentenced a former soldier to 5,160 years in prison for the massacre of 171 people in what is considered one of the worst atrocities in the country’s 36-year civil war. Prosecutors said Santos Lopez participated in the 1982 mass killings of nearly all of the men, women and children in the farming village of Dos Erres. Lopez was accused of being part of an elite unit that was sent to Dos Erres to find members of a guerrilla group that had ambushed a military convoy. When the patrol failed to find the guerrillas or guns, they pulled villagers from their homes and raped many of the young girls, prosecutors said, adding that to cover up the rapes, they killed nearly everyone living there.
Martinelli’s sons arrested
Two sons of former president Ricardo Martinelli, who is accused of collecting bribes worth millions in the wide-ranging Odebrecht scandal, have been arrested in the US, officials said on Wednesday. “US Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested unlawfully present Panamanian nationals Luis Martinelli-Linares and Ricardo Martinelli-Linares during a targeted enforcement operation ... on Nov. 20,” a statement issued to the media said. “Both men lawfully entered the US; however, their visas were revoked in 2017 and they have been unlawfully present in the US since that time.” Brazilian construction company Odebrecht has agreed to pay the government fines totaling US$220 million and cooperate with authorities. Andre Campos Rabello, Odebrecht’s former chief in Panama, had told a court that both sons took bribes amounting to US$6 million from 2009 to 2010.
Nuke use review requested
A group of lawmakers on Wednesday asked the Kremlin to review the nation’s rules for the use of nuclear weapons, amid tensions with the West. Participants in the hearings organized by the Federation Council’s Committee on Defense and Security suggested that the Security Council should draft a new version of the nuclear doctrine. Media reports cited the proposals as saying that the revised doctrine should in particular spell out a response to an attack on the country with hypersonic and other strategic nonnuclear weapons. The current military doctrine stipulates that Russia can use nuclear weapons in response to a nuclear attack on it or its allies, or an aggression involving conventional weapons that threatens “the very existence of the state.”
Amtrak train cars separate
A New York City-bound Amtrak train became disabled on the night before Thanksgiving, one of the busiest travel days of the year, when two of its cars separated. Train 68 was heading from Montreal when the train experienced what Amtrak called a “mechanical issue” just before 7:30pm near Albany, New York. Chuck Reeves, a software engineer from Troy, New York, was on his way to his parents’ home on New York’s Long Island and had boarded the first car behind the locomotive in Albany. Shortly after the train pulled away, he said that he and other passengers heard a pop and a hiss, smelled electrical burning and felt a rush of cold air. “Everyone started turning around,” only to see there was no more train behind them, he said. The train soon slowed to a stop and a conductor left the detached cars behind and boarded his car, he added. Another train was brought in to take passengers on the rest of their journey.
Car rams into schoolchildren
A car at about noon yesterday rammed into a group of schoolchildren crossing a street in front of an elementary school in Huludao, Liaoning Province, killing five people and injuring 18, state media said. Police took the driver into custody and are investigating the cause of the incident, China Central Television said on Sina Weibo. Unverified videos circulating social media show a car veering onto the wrong side of the road and plowing through the line of students. Other footage shows at least two small children lying unconscious and bleeding on the street. Victims of the crash are undergoing medical treatment, the broadcaster said.
Man killed by isolated tribe
Authorities yesterday said that it might take “some days” to recover the body of an American man killed in a hail of arrows shot by a tribe untouched by modern civilization. John Allen Chau, 27, was attacked as he set foot last week on the remote North Sentinel Island in the Bay of Bengal that is off-limits to visitors, police said. Regional police chief Dependra Pathak said that authorities sent a helicopter to the area and then a ship to identify where the incident took place. “We maintained a distance from the island and have not yet been able to spot the body. It may take some more days and ... [reconnaissance] of the area,” Pathak added. North Sentinel is home to the Sentinelese people, believed to number only about 150. “We have to take care that we must not disturb them or their habitat by any means. It is a highly sensitive zone and it will take some time,” Pathak said. Police said a murder case had been registered against “unknown” tribespeople and that six fishers and one other person who allegedly helped Chau get to the island were arrested.
The onset of summer has sparked a rise in incidents of “mask rage” in South Korea as more hot and bothered commuters either refuse to wear face coverings or leave parts of their faces exposed. In South Korea, Japan and other countries in East Asia, widespread mask wearing has been cited as one possible explanation for the region’s relative success in bringing the COVID-19 pandemic under control. South Korea, one of the first countries outside China to be affected by the virus, flattened the coronavirus curve in April, although it is now struggling with dozens of daily cases, mainly in and around
‘WOULD NOT COMPLY’: The company’s user data are kept in Singapore and it would not turn the data over to Beijing even if asked, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said Social media app TikTok has distanced itself from Beijing after India banned 59 Chinese apps in the country, according to a correspondence seen by Reuters. In a letter to the Indian government dated on Sunday last week and seen by Reuters on Friday, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said the Chinese government has never requested user data, nor would the company turn it over if asked. TikTok, which is not available in China, is owned by China’s ByteDance, but has sought to distance itself from its Chinese roots to appeal to a global audience. Along with 58 other Chinese apps, including Tencent
‘FIGHT FOR FREEDOM’: Hong Kongers will never bow to Beijing, the advocate said, while the US’ envoy to the territory called China’s new security law a ‘tragedy’ The world must stand in solidarity with Hong Kongers after Beijing imposed sweeping national security legislation on the semi-autonomous territory, advocate Joshua Wong (黃之鋒) said yesterday, vowing to continue campaigning for democracy. Wong, one of the territory’s most prominent young advocates and a figure loathed by Beijing, was speaking outside a court where he and fellow advocates are being prosecuted for involvement in last year’s pro-democracy protests. China last week enacted sweeping security legislation for the restless territory, banning acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. The legislation has sent a wave of fear through the territory, and criminalized dissenting
CHANGING PERCEPTIONS: In its tender, the Hong Kong administration said that it had failed to ‘mobilise the community to support law enforcement actions’ The Hong Kong government has agreed to pay millions of pounds to a discreet London-based PR firm to counter coverage of the territory in the international media. Consulum, which has also represented Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was on Monday awarded the ￡5 million (US$6.2 million) one-year contract to improve Hong Kong’s reputation — the same day that China passed national security legislation targeting the territory. The Mayfair-based PR business was founded by Tim Ryan and Matthew Gunther Bushell, two former employees of Bell Pottinger, an agency that has been criticized for representing some governments and leaders that other businesses