Archive | January, 2015

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Goto’s wife: Last chance for my husband

Posted on 31 January 2015 by admin

» Other News

 KARACHI: Shikarpur tragedy: Protests in different parts of Karachi

 BEIJING: Chinese authority may engage outsiders to fight corruption

 LIJIANG: Chinese ancient town cools down sexy ads that lure visitors

 SINGAPORE: New S’pore alcohol laws aimed at those who cause trouble

 BANGKOK: Thailand sees progress in curbing human trafficking

 JAKARTA: Jokowi finds support – in opposition camp

 SUBANG JAYA: M’sian and Chinese relatives reject M’sia’s MH370 death declaration

 AKCAKALE, Turkey: Series of hostage messages flusters countries involved

 SEOUL: Korean Air chairman Cho testifies at ‘nut rage’ trial

 SEOUL: Memoir of former S. Korean president memoir stirs up intense criticism

 SEOUL: N.Korea demanded cash for summit: Lee memoir

 KUALA LUMPUR: Philippine govt, MILF sign pact to decommission Moro rebelsâ€� firearms

 MANILA: Aquino spoke to SAF 44 relatives for 13 hours

 MANILA: Aquino tells MILF: Get out of the way


» Most Viewed

 LIJIANG: Chinese ancient town cools down sexy ads that lure visitors

 BEIJING: Chinese authority may engage outsiders to fight corruption

 SUBANG JAYA: M’sian and Chinese relatives reject M’sia’s MH370 death declaration

 KARACHI: Shikarpur tragedy: Protests in different parts of Karachi

 AKCAKALE, Turkey: Series of hostage messages flusters countries involved

 JAKARTA: Jokowi finds support – in opposition camp

● BANGKOK: Thailand sees progress in curbing human trafficking

 BEIJING: Slowing economy crimps China’s fiscal revenue

SINGAPORE: New S’pore alcohol laws aimed at those who cause trouble

 BEIJING: China urges new Greek leaders to honour Cosco Piraeus contract

 SEOUL: Korean Air chairman Cho testifies at ‘nut rage’ trial

 SINGAPORE: Slower growth good for Changi Airport and travellers

 SEATTLE: Scoot all set for ‘Dream Start’ today

 BEIJING: China expands cross-border FX payment system


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At least 60 killed in blast at Pakistan mosque

Posted on 31 January 2015 by admin

Publication Date : 31-01-2015


Militant group alligned to Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack


At least 60 people were killed and 60 others injured in an explosion inside a central imambargah (mosque affiliated with Shia Muslims) in Sindh province’s Shikarpur district on Friday.

Civil Hospital Shikarpur had issued a list of 49 victims out of whom 46 bodies had been identified whereas the identity of 3 others was yet to be confirmed.

The cause of the blast has not been ascertained, but suspicions are that it may have been the result of a suicide attack.

Reuters reported that Jundullah, a splinter group of Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which last year pledged support for the Islamic State group based in Syria and Iraq, claimed responsibility.

â€�Our target was the Shia mosque … They are our enemies,” said Jundullah spokesman Fahad Marwat.

The Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen (MWM) announced to observe a ‘peaceful strike’ across Sindh in the wake of the terrorist attack.

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) have also given their support to the MWM’s call for a day of mourning.

Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah also announced a day of mourning for the victims of the blast.

The imambargah is located in Shikarpur’s Lakhi Dar area and the explosion occurred just after Friday prayers.

A number of victims were trapped under debris after the roof of the imambargah collapsed due to the intensity of the blast. Many of the casualties were shifted to hospitals in Sukkur and Larkana districts of Sindh.

MWM central leader Allama Mohammed Amin Shaheedi announced three days mourning, describing the incident a failure of the government.

He told Dawn that the party’s further course of action would be announced in a press conference later in the evening.

The Jafria Disaster Cell (JDC) demanded that the critically wounded victims be immediately shifted to Karachi for treatment.

A huge contingent of police, rangers and ambulances arrived at the scene from the nearby towns in the aftermath of the explosion.

Local resident Mohammad Jehangir told AFP he had “felt the earth move beneath my feet” as he prayed at another mosque around 1.5 kilometres away.

An official with a national Shia organisation, Rahat Kazmi, told AFP that up to 400 people were worshiping in the mosque when the blast struck.

Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon told Dawn that an emergency had been imposed at all hospitals in Shikarpur and surrounding cities.

He added that provincial chief minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah and Sindh Health Minister Jam Mehtab Dahar have taken strong notice of the incident.

Prime minister Nawaz Sharif, president Mamnoon Hussain, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan and MQM chief Altaf Hussain issued condemnation messages against the incident.

Later Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah visited the site of the explosion and announced 2 million rupees (US$19,786) compensation for the families of those killed.

Shah also announced 200,000 rupees for each person wounded in the attack. He said the Sindh government would bear all medical expenses for the treatment of the injured.

Meanwhile 14 severely injured were shifted to a private hospital in Karachi for medical treatment.

MWM also staged sit-ins at several spots, including MA Jinnah road, in Karachi to protest against the Shikarpur tragedy.

A large number of people, including children, women and senior citizens participated in the sit-ins at Five Star chawrangi, Shahrah-e-Pakistan, Abbas Town, Star Gate Shahrah-e-Faisal and Malir 15.

Molana Hassan Zafar of MWM has announced that protests would continue till the deceased are buried after funeral prayers.

PTI, PPP, MQM and ANP have also endorsed the peaceful strike, called by the MWM.

The incident comes as Pakistan is attempting to implement the National Action Plan to combat and root out terrorism from the country, an initiative that was set in motion after the December 16 attack on Peshawar’s Army Public School in December 2014.

It was the second major attack on an imambargah in the country since the beginning of 2015; the first being an attack on Rawalpindi’s Imambargah Aun Mohammad Rizvi in the garrison city’s Chatian Hatian area.

At the same time, Pakistani security forces are engaged in the North Waziristan and Khyber tribal regions — with the operation in Waziristan starting soon after a terrorist attack on Karachi’s Jinnah International Airport and the theater of war expanding into Khyber.



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Fates of Goto, Jordanian pilot remain unknown

Posted on 31 January 2015 by admin

Publication Date : 31-01-2015


The fates of Japanese journalist Kenji Goto and Jordanian Air Force pilot Muath al-Kasaesbeh remain unknown after a deadline purportedly set by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) for the release of would-be suicide bomber Sajida al-Rishawi in exchange for Goto passed at sunset Thursday.

Rishawi is on death row in Jordan, and the Jordanian government is demanding proof from ISIL that Kasaesbeh, the 26-year-old pilot taken captive by the militant group, is still alive as a condition for Rishawi’s release. However, ISIL has reportedly not met that demand.

The negotiations will move to the next stage if it can be confirmed the pilot is alive, Jordanian Media Affairs and Communications Minister Mohammed al-Momani said about one hour before the deadline.

In the latest voice message uploaded at about 8 am on Thursday, Japan time, ISIL said if Rishawi was not ready for exchange for Goto at the Turkish border by Thursday at sunset, the pilot would be killed immediately.

Momani apparently indicated that a successful exchange of Rishawi and Goto, a 47-year-old freelance journalist taken hostage by the militant group believed to be ISIL, depends on ISIL’s next move. However, no such step by ISIL has been confirmed.

Jordan has not received anything that proves that the pilot is still alive, a Jordanian government official told The Yomiuri Shimbun on Thursday night.

Calls are growing in Jordan for Kasaesbeh’s release. Failure to ensure the safe return of the pilot could result in a strong backlash from the public against the Jordanian government.

�œThe people should be more calm,” a Jordanian senator said on a state-run TV on Thursday.

Friday is King Abdullah II’s 53rd birthday. ISIL sees the Jordanian monarchy as its enemy, and has been playing a calculated mind game in the hostage incident to deal a blow to that country’s government. Observers said ISIL may make a new move on the king’s birthday.

Focus on next moves

In Tokyo, prime minister Shinzo Abe said Friday the government is doing everything it can to have Goto freed.

“We are doing our utmost for Goto’s release by collecting information, analysing it and cooperating with the Jordanian government and others,” Abe said at the House of Representatives Budget Committee on Friday morning.

The government continued to make all-out efforts to collect information related to the negotiations between the Jordanian government and ISIL after the deadline expired late Thursday night Japan time.

Abe instructed foreign minister Fumio Kishida and chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga to continue to deal with the matter seriously, as the situation is changing.

“I think the negotiations [between the Jordanian government and ISIL] are still going on,” a high-ranking government official said. “The focus now is on what ISIL does next.”


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Aquino spoke to SAF 44 relatives for 13 hours

Posted on 31 January 2015 by admin

» Other News

 KARACHI: Shikarpur tragedy: Protests in different parts of Karachi

 BEIJING: Chinese authority may engage outsiders to fight corruption

 LIJIANG: Chinese ancient town cools down sexy ads that lure visitors

SINGAPORE: New S’pore alcohol laws aimed at those who cause trouble

 BANGKOK: Thailand sees progress in curbing human trafficking

 JAKARTA: Jokowi finds support – in opposition camp

 SUBANG JAYA: M’sian and Chinese relatives reject M’sia’s MH370 death declaration

 AKCAKALE, Turkey: Series of hostage messages flusters countries involved

 TOKYO: Goto’s wife: Last chance for my husband

�Â SEOUL: Korean Air chairman Cho testifies at ‘nut rage’ trial

 SEOUL: Memoir of former S. Korean president memoir stirs up intense criticism

 SEOUL: N.Korea demanded cash for summit: Lee memoir

 KUALA LUMPUR: Philippine govt, MILF sign pact to decommission Moro rebels’ firearms

â�� MANILA: Aquino tells MILF: Get out of the way



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 DHAKA: Boat on illegal trip to Malaysia sinks in Bay

 LAHORE: Pakistan police may start DNA profiling of criminals

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â—� SEOUL: N. Korea demanded cash for summit, Lee memoir says

 NEW DELHI: Modi installs new foreign secretary

 HANOI: Russian assistance key in nation’s victories, says Vietnam

 JAKARTA: Indonesian President’s approval rating below 50 per cent

 JAKARTA: Philippines wants judicial review for its citizen in Indonesia

 TOKYO: Japanese elderly lose $148m from ‘Ore ore’ scam

● BANGKOK: New report puts Israel firmly in the dock


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Aquino tells MILF: Get out of the way

Posted on 31 January 2015 by admin

Publication Date : 31-01-2015


Aquino to MILF: Clear the way.

This was the message sent by president Benigno Aquino III to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chief peace negotiator as government security forces moved to intensify the hunt for Afghan-trained terrorist Abdul Basit Usman.

The Inquirer learned from a well-placed source that Aquino sent the message to Mohagher Iqbal through Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles shortly after 44 elite police commandos were killed in a clash with Moro guerrillas in Mamasapano town, Maguindanao province, on Sunday.

In his message to Iqbal, the president asked for three things: For the MILF to surrender Usman if some of its fighters were coddling him; to help the government get Usman and for MILF base commands to clear the way for government security forces to operate and get Usman.

Get out of the way

“The president’s message, basically, asked the MILF to get out of the way to allow the military and the police to get this deadly terrorist,” said the Inquirer source, a senior government official who requested anonymity for lack of authority to speak to the media.

Usman escaped from the Special Action Force (SAF) commandos who raided the hideout he shared with Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias “Marwan,” in Barangay Pidsandawan, a remote village in Mamasapano, early on Sunday.

Secondary target

Usman was the secondary target of the police operation. The primary target, Marwan, was killed but the SAF commandos lost 44 of their own when they were attacked by Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and MILF guerrillas as they withdrew from the village. It was the highest death toll in a single encounter in the recent history of the country’s security forces.

The president’s message to Iqbal was apparently intended to avoid a repeat of the Mamasapano debacle, which would have been considered a success because the SAF commandos were able to take down Marwan, a member of the Central Command of the Indonesia-based terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah and who was behind a number of deadly bombings in the country and other parts of the world.

Marwan, a bomb expert, was on the list of most-wanted terrorists of the US government and had a $6-million price on his head.

Police director Getulio Napeñas, the SAF commander, was relieved pending investigation of the disastrous operation.

No coordination

He admitted that the operation to get Marwan and Usman was deliberately not coordinated with the military and the MILF, which are observing a ceasefire following the signing of a peace agreement.

Napeñas said the MILF 105th, 106th and 118th base commands were all in Mamasapano. He said he did not coordinate with the MILF because he did not trust the group.

The peace process has put in place coordinating systems such as a joint action committee and a ceasefire committee precisely to keep government security forces and the MILF guerrillas from fighting.

Hostile artillery

But without coordination with the military and the MILF, the SAF commandos went into hostile territory.

As the SAF commandos pulled out of their first encounter site in Pidsandawan, where they killed Marwan, they inadvertently ventured into Barangay Tukanalipao, some 3 kilometres away, where there were MILF guerrillas.

Iqbal and an Inquirer source separately said that it was the SAF commandos who fired the first shot, triggering a gun battle where the policemen were outnumbered and found themselves contained in an open cornfield.

The deaths of the 44 SAF commandos triggered nationwide anger, with some sectors calling for the junking of the peace agreement.

Purisima called shots

The outrage was stoked by Aquino’s admission that he had been consulting with Alan Purisima, a close friend, on the “intricacies” of the operation against Marwan and Usman even though the Philippine National Police chief remained suspended over graft charges.

Napeñas said it was Purisima who called the shots in the Mamasapano operation.

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Thousands of Filipino cops march for justice nationwide

Posted on 31 January 2015 by admin

Publication Date : 31-01-2015


Thousands of policemen whose job is normally to hunt down criminals or curb street protests on Friday walked carrying roses and candles in their hands. Others shaved their heads in mourning.

Still others struggled along carrying Philippine flags at half-mast.

All were in mourning for the 44 members of the Philippine National Police’s Special Action Force (SAF) massacred in a clash with Moro rebels in Maguindanao province.

Most of the marches began before dawn—about the time the SAF troops were mowed down by the insurgents on Sunday.

In a rare gathering, about 5,000 policemen, firemen and jail guards in their uniforms trooped from the Libingan ng mga Bayani to the National Capital Regional Police Office (NCRPO) headquarters in Taguig City, and called for justice for the members of the elite SAF men killed in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

Usually, cops are seen dispersing protesters during rallies but the scene was different in Taguig yesterday as the policemen in uniform lined up by fours and walked 10 kilometres wearing black armbands and carrying roses, candles and placards to demand justice for their fallen comrades.

Senior Supt. Gilbert Cruz, the Southern Police District (SPD) deputy district director for operations who led the the early morning demonstration, said their walk for justice was new for them.

�We are used to responding to crime scenes and solving crimes but this time, we are the ones asking for justice for what happened to our fellow policemen,” Cruz said.

Using the word “massacre,” Cruz said their walk was a small way of showing how they shared the grief of the families of the massacred SAF officers.

The walk also included some of the families of the victims and other civilians, even members of a US delegation from the Indiana State Police, who were visiting the country.

Almost in complete attendance were the members of the PNP Kaisang Bisig Class of 2009, who lost three of their batchmates in the massacre: Senior Insp. Gednat Tabdi, Senior Insp. Max Jim Tria and Senior Insp. John Gary Erana.

Hoping for justice

“Our batchmates came from various places like Caraga, Baguio and the Visayas but we made sure most of us were present here to pay tribute to the three police officers closest to our hearts,” Senior Insp. Eric Ortega said.

Ortega said their three batchmates were the leaders of their class, especially Erana, who inspired them with his leadership.

At Camp Bagong Diwa, the group walked to a sympathy board set up near the multipurpose hall where the remains of the SAF officers lay.

They wrote messages of love on the board, lighted candles and placed flowers below.

“We are hoping that justice will be served for our comrades in the service,” Cruz said.

Heads shaved

Elsewhere, 19 senior inspectors leading municipal police offices in the Bicol region shaved their heads to show sympathy with the families of their three batchmates belonging to the 2009 class of the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA), who died in the carnage.

Their female batchmate, Senior Insp. Sheena Guzman, chief of police of Canaman town in Camarines Sur, also cut her hair close to the scalp.

Losing their three batchmates “was just like losing a beloved family member,” she said.

Senior Insp. Bon Billy Timuat, police chief of Claveria, Masbate, sported a â��09” figure at the back of his shaved head to emphasize the batch and the year he graduated. The deaths of his batchmates “were very hard and painful to accept,” he said.

Other batchmates of the fallen policemen cried for justice.

Senior Insp. Rey Anthony Villanueva of the Regional Intelligence Division in Bicol, said what happened in Mamasapano was a “massacre.”

“We will carry the pain for as long as we live,” he said.

Common plea

“What we want is justice” was the common plea of Senior Insp. Domingo Tapel of the Legazpi police; Senior Insp. Jonnel Averilla, officer in charge of the police office in Pio Duran, Albay; and Senior Insp. Glaiza Marie Padua, chief of police of Sto. Domingo, Albay.

Senior Insp. Johnwen Balueta, police chief of Manito, Albay, said his batchmates died in a legitimate police operation. “They went there to implement the search warrant of an identified terrorist and not to engage in war,” he said.

“For now what I can offer is prayer,” said Senior Insp. Jan King Calipay, of the Polangui Municipal Police Office in Albay.

Flags were raised at half-staff at provincial capitols, town halls and police stations across provinces in Southern Tagalog, Bicol and Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan).

Camarines Sur

Policemen across the regions also offered mass, flowers and lighted candles in front of their police stations to honour their slain colleagues.

They also covered their badges with black ribbons and wore black armbands.

Insp. Breezy Sanchez, spokesperson of the Camarines Sur Provincial Police Office, said they would wear black armbands and black ribbons as part of their uniforms until the last of the 44 policemen had been buried.

In Bicol, 20 senior inspectors working as chiefs of police in various areas and who are members of Class 2009 also had their heads shaved.

The Albay provincial government said its officials would personally deliver 10,000 pesos (US$226) each to the families of the slain SAF members.

‘We expect justice’

Police units from Mandaue, Cebu and Lapu-Lapu, as well as the Regional Public Safety Battalion, were also represented.

Supt. Rodolfo Albotra Jr., head of the Philippine National Police Alumni Association Inc. in Cebu, organised the walk.

“This is just a show of sympathy. We still believe in the government that they will not turn their backs on this one. We expect that justice will be served,” he said.

The group gathered at St. Ignatius Chapel for Mass. In his homily, Fr. Celso Magbanua urged the policemen to learn from what happened to the 44 SAF members.

“We should reflect or else their death will be put to waste … This can be a big thing as long as we learn from this experience,” he said.

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Philippine govt, MILF sign pact to decommission Moro rebels’ firearms

Posted on 31 January 2015 by admin

Publication Date : 31-01-2015


One lock for each of six storage areas for firearms, a detailed list of personnel and weapons, redeployment of troops.

These are some of the protocols for the decommissioning of the firearms of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) that were agreed upon by the MILF and the government in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday, four days after a fierce clash between their forces took the lives of 44 police commandos and 11 MILF guerrillas in Maguindanao province.

The government and the MILF peace panels signed the 10-page protocols and expressed “deep sympathy and grief for the loss of lives.”

The peace panels were scheduled to meet in Kuala Lumpur to finalise the protocols for the decommissioning of firearms, an essential part of the normalisation annex of the peace agreement, when members of the Special Action Force (SAF) and MILF fighters engaged in a gun battle in Mamasapano town, Maguindanao, early on Sunday, throwing the peace agreement into doubt.

Before Sunday’s incident, it had been more than two years since government security forces and Moro fighters had clashed, and both parties credited it to an effective ceasefire mechanism.

The SAF commander, Police Director Getulio Napeñas, admitted that the plan to get Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias “Marwan,” was kept from the ceasefire committee because he did not trust the MILF.

Marwan was killed in the operation, but a secondary target, local terrorist Abdul Basit Usman, got away.

Separate investigations

The peace panels supported the separate investigations being conducted by the government and the MILF, as well as extended the mandate of the International Monitoring Team (IMT), which is part of the ceasefire mechanism, until March next year.

Talks are expected to continue into the weekend at an undisclosed location as procedures are hammered out.

In an earlier statement, chief government negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer said the meeting in Kuala Lumpur was held despite doubts about the implementation of the peace agreement after the Maguindanao clash.

Both the government and the MILF vowed to pursue the peace process despite the incident.

Ghadzali Jaafar, MILF vice chair for political affairs, said the Kuala Lumpur meeting was a ���slap in the face of politicians” who wanted to use the incident to derail the peace process.

“Everything is OK. The peace process will not be affected by the clash, most especially as the MILF has not violated any provisions of the [peace agreement],” Jaafar said.

The peace agreement signed in March last year would create a Bangsamoro autonomous region in Mindanao by mid񮖰.

A basic law that would establish the new Muslim autonomous region is under discussion in Congress.

End of conflict

The MILF’s decommissioning of forces and firearms signals the end of the group’s four-decade insurgency in Mindanao that has cost more than 150,000 lives and displaced hundreds of thousands of people.

Parallel to the decommissioning would be the redeployment or repositioning of the units and troops of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), including weapons, ammunition, equipment and installations.

The guidelines were the fruit of three months of deliberations between the parties and the International Decommissioning body (IDB), drawing lessons from the experiences of Nepal, Northern Ireland and Aceh.

The IDB is chaired by Hayder Berk of Turkey. The members are retired Brig. Gen. Jan Erik Wilhemsen of Norway, Maj. Muhammad Ayman Syazwi bin Haji Abdul Rahim of Brunei, retired Army Gen. Rey Ardo, Professor Mario Aguja, Von al Haj and Isah Bato.

The IDB will set the schedule for the decommissioning of the MILF�€™s firearms, believed to number in the thousands.

First phase

The first phase will be a ceremonial decommissioning of the first 25 crew-served weapons and 55 high-powered firearms.

This will be followed by the turnover of 30 per cent of the MILF’s forces and weapons for the second phase, another 35 per cent for the third phase, and the remaining batch for the fourth phase.

The remaining stage of the decommissioning will be evaluated by the panels and the Third Party Monitoring Team and Malaysian peace talks facilitator Datu Tengku to determine that all commitments of the parties have been completed.

Weapons storage

All weapons and ammunition will be kept in safe storage areas under the “supervision, monitoring and control” of the IDB.

Aside from being fenced and restricted, the storage areas will each be provided with a single lock by the IDB. There will be 24-hour surveillance cameras and floodlights that will automatically turn on at night.

The MILF combatants will be assigned to six to 12 assembly and processing areas for registration, verification, and decommissioning of forces and weapons.

It will be the responsibility of the commanders of the MILF’s Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) to provide the IDB with their command structures, the names of all their commanders and personnel, list of weapons with pertinent details, and their ammunition inventory.

The Joint Normalisation Committee-Joint Peace and Security Committee (JNC-JPSC) will facilitate the movements of the MILF forces to the assembly areas.

Development programs

Socio-development programs will be set in place for the MILF combatants, who have been fighters all their lives, and their families for a smooth transition back to civilian life.

Amnesty and pardon will be made available as â€�legal forms of confidence-building measures, which shall be immediately undertaken as agreed upon in the Annex on Normalisation by the government toward the speedy resolution of cases of persons charged with or convicted of crimes or offenses connected to the armed conflict in Mindanao.”

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Korean Air chairman Cho testifies at ‘nut rage’ trial

Posted on 31 January 2015 by admin

Publication Date : 31-ǡ-2015


Korean Air chairman Cho Yang-ho testified as a witness in a Seoul trial on Friday over his daughter’s alleged breach of aviation safety regulations.

The Seoul Western District Court questioned the 65-year-old chairman on whether the senior steward Park Chang-jin, who was allegedly assaulted by Cho’s daughter and forced off the Seoul-bound Korean Air flight in New York last month, would be able to keep his job.

“I promise that the chief steward will face no disadvantages at work,” Cho said.

He apologised to Park as the company chairman and pledged to reform the airline’s business culture.

Some Korean Air officials were accused of attempting to coerce employees, including Park, to provide false accounts of the “nut rage” incident and threatening to fire him.

The judge also called in a junior attendant, surnamed Kim, who is known to have been verbally and physically abused by the Hanjin Group heiress after serving her macadamia nuts in an unopened pack instead of on a plate.

During the trial, Kim testified that Cho pushed her to a corner and she along with Park kneeled down in front of the former executive on the flight.

The junior attendant also said that the company offered her a professorship at a Korean Air-affiliated college but denied the accusation that she gave a false testimony in exchange for the deal during an investigation conducted by the transport ministry.

�œSenior company officials told me to testify as they ordered and said that I shouldn’t worry (about the investigation) because the investigator of the ministry was a former employee,” she said.

She said the executive surnamed Yeo, who has been indicted on charges of destroying evidence, forced her to keep mum on Cho’s use of abusive language and violence.

The chief steward Park, however, did not show up for the trial despite receiving court summons.

Park, who has been on sick leave since December last year for mental treatment, plans to get back to work from Febraury 1, he said during a radio interview last week.

During the first hearing, on January 19, the former Korean Air vice president denied allegations that she had changed flight plans and interfered with a government probe into the on-flight incident. The incident caused an 11-minute flight delay for the 250 or so passengers.

Prosecutors suspect that Cho forced the pilot to return to the gate, though she was aware that the plane had begun taxiing. Citing flight safety regulations, they consider the flight to have started the moment the plane doors closed.

Cho’s attorneys, on the other hand, denied the charges, asserting that they were not applicable as the plane was still on the ground, not airborne.

The 40-year-old daughter of the airline owner was indicted on January 7 on five charges including violence and obstructing the crew during the flight.

Following a national uproar over the issue, Cho apologised for the “foolish” actions of his daughter “as a father and head of Korean Air� and removed her from all official posts on December 12.


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Memoir of former S. Korean president memoir stirs up intense criticism

Posted on 31 January 2015 by admin

Publication Date : 31ᆕ-2015


Former President Lee Myung-bak is taking flak from the ruling and opposition parties, as well as the incumbent government, for revealing sensitive diplomatic anecdotes in a soon-to-be-published memoir.

Critics say that it is too early for a former president ― who left office just two years ago ― to publish a memoir, and that disclosing details of behind-the-scenes talks with top foreign officials could affect the current government’s foreign relations.

Lee’s side, however, countered that the 800-page memoir to be published next Monday was written to help the current government understand what happened during the preceding administration. It also argued there was “no principle that bans a former president from revealing secret inter-Korean contacts.”

The memoir, entitled “The President’s Time 2008-2013,� includes information about his administration’s diplomacy with Pyongyang, Beijing, Washington and Tokyo. Lee even detailed the failed negotiations to arrange an inter-Korean summit, claiming the North demanded a huge amount of food and cash in return.

He also used the memoir to defend his much-criticised “resource diplomacy” ― a reason why critics say the memoir was politically motivated as the National Assembly is currently preparing for a parliamentary probe into the costly diplomatic drive.

Leaders of the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy launched a salvo of criticism, calling his publication of the memoir “inappropriate and irresponsible.”

�œWhat a former president is supposed to do is to embrace and console people. If he does not have the willingness to do so, it would be better for him to just sit silently,��� said NPAD leader Moon Hee-sang during a meeting with party officials. “I hope he will be cautious (about his words and action).”

NPAD floor leader Woo Yoon-keun also berated Lee for publishing the memoir, saying it did not include any expression of regret over his resource diplomacy, which has yet to yield tangible results.

“Citizens are surprised by his book full of self-praise. His drive for overseas resource development is going to cost a whole lot of money, and has become a white elephant swallowing up taxpayers’ money,” Woo said during the party meeting.

“Lee should appear at the National Assembly to address all the suspicions surrounding his policy drive and give detailed explanations.�

Cheong Wa Dae also joined the criticism, expressing regret over Lee’s comments about president Park Geun-hye�™s opposition in 2009 to a reversal of a plan to relocate two-thirds of administrative departments to Sejong City in South Chungcheong Province.

He said in the memoir that Park opposed his plan to reverse the project to keep her potential political rival Chung Un-chan in check. Chung, then prime minister and a potential presidential contender in the conservative camp, spearheaded the move to reverse the relocation plan.

â��Lee’s argument is based on misunderstandings rather than on facts,” a senior presidential official told reporters, declining to be named.

“The issue surrounding Sejong City is about an agreement that the ruling and opposition parties reached in 2005 for balanced regional development. Later in local, parliamentary and presidential elections, the party (to which Park and Lee belonged) also pledged to carry out the plan.”

Diplomacy experts pointed out that should all Korean presidents disclose unofficial summit talks two years after leaving office, foreign leaders may feel reluctant to talk heart to heart about delicate diplomatic issues with the Korean president.

Dismissing the criticism, Kim Du-woo, who served as a chief public affairs officer for Lee, said the former president decided to publish the memoir as he felt the need to let the current government know how inter-Korean and other external relations were managed.

“As the heads of the National Intelligence Service, foreign ministry and other agencies have changed, we need to inform (the current government) of how things progressed in the previous administration,” Kim told Yonhap.

Regarding disclosures about the failed negotiations to bring about an inter-Korean summit, Kim said, “Until when do you have to leave our citizens unaware of (what happened between the two Koreas)?”


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N.Korea demanded cash for summit: Lee memoir

Posted on 31 January 2015 by admin

Publication Date : 31ᆕ-2015


Former President Lee Myung-bak has revealed a series of sensitive foreign policy dealings, including the failed negotiations over an inter-Korean summit, during his term in his memoir obtained by the media ahead of its publication next Monday.

In the 8Ǡ-page memoir, entitled “The President’s Time 20Ǩ-2013,” he includes details about his administration’s diplomacy with Pyongyang, Beijing, Washington and Tokyo, and defends his much-criticised resource diplomacy.

As for the North��s proposal for an inter-Korean summit, Lee said Pyongyang demanded 100,000 tonnes of corn, 400,000 tons of rice, 300,000 tons of fertiliser, $100 million worth of asphalt pitch and บ billion to establish a state development bank.

He said that the demand came at a working-level meeting in the North’s border city of Gaeseong following a secret meeting between then-Seoul’s labour minister Yim Tae-hee and Kim Yang-gon, director of the North’s United Front Department, in Singapore in 2009.

Pyongyang first raised the issue of a summit when Kim Ki-nam, a secretary of the North’s ruling Workersâ�� Party, visited Lee at Cheong Wa Dae while in Seoul to attend the funeral of former president Kim Dae-jung in the summer of 2009.

During his talks with the North Korean delegation, Lee said, “I want to say to chairman Kim Jong-il that the North has long claimed that the South should stay out of the denuclearisation talks, and that it is an issue between Washington and Pyongyang, but I think differently.”

Concerning the inter-Korean summit, Beijing has encouraged Seoul to be positive about it, Lee noted.

During a trilateral summit between South Korea, China and Japan in Beijing in October 2009, then-Chinese premier Wen Jabao said, “I met Chairman Kim Jong-il and he wishes” to hold the inter-Korean summit.

Lee said in response, ��I am willing to meet (Kim) if we can talk heart to heart over all topics including the nuclear issue without any conditions or demand for something in return. And we want the summit to be held in the South as the two previous summits were held in Pyongyang.”

Later, Wen reiterated Kim’s wish for a bilateral summit during an Asean Plus Three (South Korea, China, Japan) summit, Lee said. In response, Lee said, “North Korea is too fastidious about the conditions. I can’t understand this when we want to hold the summit unconditionally.”

In his memoir, Lee also touched on his administration’s efforts to secure an apology from the North for its torpedo attack in March 2010 that killed 46 sailors. Lee said the North expressed “regrets as ethnic Koreans, and that it demanded 500,000 tonnes of rice as the South called for an apology and a promise to prevent a such a provocation from reoccurring.”

The memoir also revealed that after the North’s artillery attack on the border island of Yeonpyeongdo in November 2010, the North secretly sent four senior security officials to Seoul. Lee refused to meet them as they did not carry any letter from then-North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

Touching on a summit with then-Chinese President Hu Jintao in 2012, Lee said that he told Hu that US troops in the South would not move northward from their current locations should Korea be unified. Hu just listened without commenting, Lee said.

As for criticism of his so-called “resource diplomacy,” he dismissed it as a political offensive, arguing that it was a long-term project that would yield results a decade or three decades later. His political foes have argued that taxpayers’ money has been squandered on his policy drive, which has failed to produce tangible results.


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