Wiki Actu en

February 20, 2009

Israeli President chooses Likud leader to form the 18th Knesset government

Israeli President chooses Likud leader to form the 18th Knesset government

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search

Friday, February 20, 2009

Israel
Related articles
  • 1 July 2015: Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan stops hunger strike, due to be released
  • 29 May 2015: Tony Blair resigns as envoy of Quartet to Middle East
  • 22 May 2015: FIFA president ‘on a mission of peace’
  • 29 April 2015: UN publishes report on 2014 Gaza conflict
  • 18 March 2015: Netanyahu’s Likud party wins election in Israel
Location of Israel
Israel (orthographic projection).svg
Collaborate!
  • Pillars of Wikinews writing
  • Writing an article

Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu (בִּנְיָמִין “ביבי” נְתַנְיָהוּ) was the 9th Prime Minister of Israel and is Chairman of the Likud Party.

Today, Israel President Shimon Peres has selected Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu to form the government of the 18th Knesset. 65 Members of Knesset informed the President of their preference of Netanyahu to head the government.

President Peres was persuaded by two factors to choose Likud over Kadima. The Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel Our Home) supports Likud in its attempt to form a government. Kadima Leader Tzipi Livni would not join in a unity government with Likud that the Israel President was attempting to broker between the three largest parties.

Cquote1.svg It appears that the coalition which has been formed in recent days lacks diplomatic vision. (A) broad coalition is worthless if it is not governed by values. Cquote2.svg

—Tzipi Livni
via JPost.com

Kadima had won a plurality of the seats (28) in Knesset, the Israel parliament, in the February 10th election beating out the right-wing Likud Party by one seat. Livini met with Beiteinu party leader Avigdor Lieberman in an attempt to form the core of an new coalition government. Kadima was expecting to be able to form a government with Labor (13 seats), Meretz and New Movement (3 seats) and Beiteinu (15 seats). This coalition would have 59 seats, but now without Beiteinu only 44 seats making either combination 2 seats or 17 seats short of a majority.

Beiteinu won 15 seats in the election — the third most seats — making it key to the make up of the government. It ran on a plank of loyalty oaths to Israel from Israel’s Arab citizens or have their citizens lost. The initial government coalition of Likud and Beiteinu combined has 44 seats just 19 seats short of a majority.

After official results are published (on February 18, in this election), the President of Israel delegates the task of forming a government to the member of Knesset with the best chance of assembling a majority coalition (usually the leader of the largest party.) That designee has up to 42 days to negotiate with the different parties, and then present his government to the Knesset for a vote of confidence. Once the government is approved (by a vote of at least 61 members), the coalition leader becomes Prime Minister.

Cquote1.svg I am willing to go to great lengths in the negotiations needed to establish such a government. Cquote2.svg

—Benjamin Netanyahu
via JPost.com

Netanyahu will reach out to Kadima first after the announcement of his selection as possible Prime Minister. He will extend several key cabinet position to Kadima. Also, he will be contacting the Labor Party as a possible coalition partner. During the election campaign, Netanyahu stated that not forming a national-unity government when we was previously Prime Minister was a mistake.

According to Netanyahu’s associates, they expect that it is likely that neither Kadima nor Labor will join a Lukid led coalition government. A right-wing government of 65 seats with Shas (11 seats) as the third party is expected.

Peres consulted with 10 of 12 parties with seats in Knesset. Parties with the total of 65 seats recommend Netanyahu to lead the next government. Besides Likud and Beiteinu, Habayit Hayehudi, Shas, National Union and United Torah Judaism indicated a preference for Netanyahu. Other parties (Meretz, Balad, Labor, Hadash and the United Arab List-Ta’al) made no suggestion.

Labor chairman and Defense Minister Ehud Barak indicated Thursday that the Labor is preparing to operating as part of the opposition to the government. He also indicated that Tzipi Livni was not recommended to the President due to the deal that she offered to Our Home.

The choice of Netanyahu has not encouraged Palestinian officials. Netanyahu has been on the record as saying that he supports settlement expansion and believes that negotiations with Palestine are a waste of time. Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has said that there will be no negotiation as long as settlement expansion continues. Furthermore the coalition between Likud and Avigdor Lieberman’s party would be a huge blow to the Palestinian’s mainly because of Lieberman’s refusal to negotiate the question of whether or not to divide the city of Jerusalem, a city which Palestinians have hoped to make their capital for a Palestinian state.



Related news

Sources

Bookmark-new.svg


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

February 14, 2009

Israel elects 18th Knesset

Filed under: Israel,Middle East,Nationalism,Politics and conflicts,World — admin @ 5:00 am

Israel elects 18th Knesset – Wikinews, the free news source

Israel elects 18th Knesset

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search
Israel
Related articles
  • 1 July 2015: Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan stops hunger strike, due to be released
  • 29 May 2015: Tony Blair resigns as envoy of Quartet to Middle East
  • 22 May 2015: FIFA president ‘on a mission of peace’
  • 29 April 2015: UN publishes report on 2014 Gaza conflict
  • 18 March 2015: Netanyahu’s Likud party wins election in Israel
Location of Israel
Israel (orthographic projection).svg
Collaborate!
  • Pillars of Wikinews writing
  • Writing an article

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The centrist Kadima Party won a plurality of the seats in Knesset, the Israel parliament, in Tuesday’s election beating out the right-wing Likud Party by a single seat.

The ninth and current Israel President Shimon Peres will call on Tzipora Malka “Tzipi” Livni, Kadima party leader to attempt to form a government through a coalition. This will be difficult for Livini as Hard line parties including Likud won a majority of the seats in the Knesset. Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu might be tapped to form a coalition government if Livni fails. 65.2% percent of the voting population voted on Tuesday.

Tzipora Malka “Tzipi” Livni (ציפורה מלכה “ציפי” לבני), Vice-Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Israel, addresses the audience during the session at the Annual Meeting 2008 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 24, 2008.

The key issue which has faced some 5.3 million registered voters, in 9,000 polling stations nationwide is which leader can best assure the security of the state while chances of a peace deal seem remote amid a campaign that generated little enthusiasm.

Political analysts are predicting that Mr. Netanyahu, not Ms. Livni, will be asked by Israel’s president to form the next government.

Both Ms. Livni and Mr. Netanyahu are courting the third-place Yisrael Beitenu Party, headed by Avigdor Lieberman. Yisrael Beitenu party which won 15 seats is seen as critical in securing the 61 seats required in the country’s 120-seat parliament.

Another possible political scenario would be a power-sharing government between Ms. Livni and Mr. Netanyahu, in which each leader would serve as prime minister for two years, rotating midway through the four year term.

“Netanyahu and Livni complement one another. You have the common sense of Livni and the broader strategic vision of Netanyahu. Bibi needs her and she needs him,” said Daniel Schueftan, a senior Israeli academic and deputy director of the National Security Studies Center at the University of Haifa, where he also serves as a senior lecturer in the School of Political Sciences.

The Knesset (כנסת) is the legislature of Israel, located in Givat Ram, Jerusalem. It was first convened on February 14, 1949, following the elections held on January 20th 1949. As the legislative branch of the Israeli government, it enacts laws, elects the president and prime minister (although s/he is ceremonially appointed by the President), supervises the work of the government, reserves the power to remove the President of the State and the State Comptroller from office and to dissolve itself and call new elections.

Cquote1.svg I believe in the right of the Jewish people to the entire land of Israel. But I was also raised to preserve democratic values. Cquote2.svg

—–Tzipora Malka “Tzipi” Livni in 2006

The composition of the current Knesset was determined by the 2006 election, the Seventeenth Knesset. Though it has not yet happened in the current session, in every Knesset to date (save the remarkably stable 1955 Third), parties have split up during the Knesset’s term, leading to the creation of new parties or resulting in MKs sitting as independents.

Last December, a record 43 parties had registered with the parties registrar, compared to 31 for the 2006 elections, although in the end, only 34 parties submitted a list of candidates. On 12 January 2009, Balad and the United Arab List–Ta’al alliance were disqualified by the Central Elections Committee on the grounds that they failed to recognise Israel as a Jewish state and called for armed conflict against it. Balad and Ta’al were also disqualified from the 2003 election, but won a Supreme Court case which allowed them to run. On January 21, the Supreme Court, by a vote of 8 to 1, again revoked the ban.

Every 4 years (or sooner if an early election is called, as is often the case), 120 members of the Knesset (MKs) are elected by Israeli citizens who must be at least 18 years old to vote. The Government of Israel must be approved by a majority vote of the Knesset. 120 seats are allocated by party-list proportional representation, using the d’Hondt method. The election threshold for the 2006 election was set at 2% (up from 1.5% in previous elections), which is a little over two seats.

Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu (בִּנְיָמִין “ביבי” נְתַנְיָהוּ) was the 9th Prime Minister of Israel and is Chairman of the Likud Party.

After official results are published (on February 18, in this election), the President of Israel delegates the task of forming a government to the Member of Knesset with the best chance of assembling a majority coalition (usually the leader of the largest party.) That designee has up to 42 days to negotiate with the different parties, and then present his government to the Knesset for a vote of confidence. Once the government is approved (by a vote of at least 61 members), he/she becomes Prime Minister.

Kadima leaders believe that Livni can form a coalition with at least Labor, Meretz and Israel Beiteinu. Livni and Netanyahu have started meeting with potential government coalition partners, Livni with Avigdor Lieberman of ultranational party, Yisrael Beiteinu and Netanyahu with Eli Yishai of the Shas, an ultra-Orthodox party.

Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu (בִּנְיָמִין “ביבי” נְתַנְיָהוּ) was the 9th Prime Minister of Israel (June 1996 to July 1999) and is Chairman of the conservative Likud Party. He is the first (and to date only) Prime Minister of Israel to be born after the State of Israel’s foundation.

Netanyahu was Finance Minister of Israel until 9 August 2005, having resigned in protest at the Gaza Disengagement Plan advocated by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. He retook the Likud leadership on 20 December 2005.

As of December 2006, he became the official leader of the Opposition in the Knesset and Chairman of the Likud Party. In August 2007 he retained the Likud leadership by beating Moshe Feiglin in party elections.

On May 4, 2006, Ehud Olmert (אהוד אולמרט) became the 12th and current Prime Minister of Israel. He was the mayor of Jerusalem from 1993 to 2003, was elected to the Knesset and became a minister and an Acting Prime Minister in the government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Israel’s 12th Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (אהוד אולמרט) and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at their trilateral meeting at the David Citadel Hotel, Jerusalem.

On January 4, 2006, after Sharon suffered a severe hemorrhagic stroke, Olmert began exercising the powers of the office of Prime Minister. He led Kadima to a victory in the March 2006 elections (just two months after Sharon had suffered his stroke) and continued on as Acting Prime Minister.

On April 14, 2006, Sharon was declared permanently incapacitated, allowing Olmert to legally become Interim Prime Minister. On 4 May, 2006, Olmert and his new, post-election government were approved by the Knesset, thus Olmert officially became Prime Minister of Israel.

Olmert faced corruption charges amid a challenge for leadership from Kadima by Foreign Minister Tzipora Malka “Tzipi” Livni (ציפורה מלכה “ציפי” לבני), age 50, the Vice-Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Israel. Livini is a lawyer, mother-of-two and former agent for Mossad Israel’s foreign intelligence agency who has moved from a strongly Zionist nationalist background to become a leading Israeli advocate of a two-state solution with Palestinians.

On July 30, 2008, Olmert announced that he would not seek re-election as party leader and that he would resign from his position as Prime Minister immediately after a new Kadima leader was named. On September 17, 2008, Livni won the election and became the new leader of the Kadima party. She sought to form a new government that would gain support from a majority of the Knesset.

Avigdor Lieberman

After failing to reach agreement with various parties, Livni’s attempts at forming a new government were unsuccessful and instead an election was scheduled for February 10, 2009. Aside from Livini and Netanyahu, the other candidates were Ehud Barak, the 10th Prime Minister of Israel, and current Minister of Defense, deputy prime minister and leader of Israel’s centre-left Labor Party, and Avigdor Lieberman, the leader of the far-right party Yisrael Beiteinu.

The hiatus allowed Olmert to cling to his Prime Minister post for at least a further five months as head of a caretaker government. On December, 2008, Operation Cast Lead was launched on Gaza. The February 10 election came three weeks after a 22-day Israel–Gaza conflict, where Israeli military offensive in the Palestinian-ruled Gaza Strip killed more than 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis.

Meanwhile, Avigdor Lieberman, whose Yisrael Beiteinu faction received 15 Knesset seats, thereby holding the key to the makeup of the 18th Knesset, has on Thursday unexpectedly departed for vacation abroad, leaving his suitors from Kadima and Likud — as well as the Israeli public — in the dark about his intentions.

“Our position is already clear and I know exactly what I am going to tell President Shimon Peres. [But] in order to know whom we are going to recommend, we will wait six more days,” Lieberman said. “I think it is too early and there is no point saying whom we support. I have met with both Livni and Netanyahu and with additional people in the political system but my position is already clear and solid. When we go to the President we will say very clear things,” he added.

Final, Unofficial* Results

Party Leader Seats
Kadima Tzipi Livni 28
Likud and Ahi Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu 27
Beiteinu Avigdor Lieberman 15
Labor Ehud Barak 13
Shas Eli Yishai 11
United Arab List–Ta’al Ibrahim Sarsur 4
National Union Ya’akov Katz 4
United Torah Yaakov Litzman 5
Hadash Mohammad Barakeh 4
Home Daniel Hershkovitz 3
Meretz and New Movement Haim Oron 3
Balad Jamal Zahalka 3
Gil Rafi Eitan 0
Greens and Meimad-Green Movement Pe’er Visner and
Michael Melchior & Eran Ben-Yemini
0
Hazaka Efraim Sneh 0

The Israeli Central Elections Committee, charged under the 1969 Knesset Elections Law to carry out the elections for the Knesset has planned to release the final results on February 18 after tallying more than 150,000 ballots, consisting mainly of votes of absentees (those from abroad – soldiers in military camps and foreign service staff, overseas diplomat missions, prisoners, hospital staff, and surplus votes that are calculated to move to other parties to form the final results within 48 hours of the closing of the polls).

Shimon Peres, President of Israel in Davos, 2009.

These remaining votes could tip the balance in the gridlocked election and determine the leadership. The elections officials have also released the List of Knesset members. *The Knesset Board of Elections on Thursday states on their site that results are “final but not official.”

The unofficial election results (based on 99.7% of votes) has raised one question – whether Netanyahu might be chosen to serve as Prime Minister, given Likud’s possible political ability to form a coalition with Yisrael Beiteinu. Another alternative was for Kadima to form a national unity government. But this has seemed unlikely given that it would probably require Tzipi Livni to win Likud’s support for any such unity coalition.

The real resolution of the electoral deadlock has hinged on the actions of President Shimon Peres, age, 85, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, as the official in charge of deciding which party should be chosen to form a governing coalition. Observers have pointed to his personal political similarities with Livni as one possible reason for choosing Kadima. On the other hand, Netanyahu’s ability to form a true coalition also seemed like one significant consideration.

However, the stability of a right-wing/religious coalition is questionable. The six right wing parties control just 65 seats, leaving such a coalition vulnerable to internal dissention. In any case, President Peres has announced that he will not entertain any attempts to form a government until February 18, when the final results will be certified.

President Barack Obama has phoned Peres Wednesday and wished him well in overseeing the formation of a new government. “You have only two political parties — we have 12,” Peres told Obama. The new coalition government that emerges after February 18, whether it is led by hard-line Netanyahu or his moderate rival, Tzipi Livni, is likely to find common ground on two burning issues: Hamas and Iran.

The Knesset building, Jerusalem, Israel, on Independence Day.

Two dire scenarios emerged Wednesday as President Obama faces double dilemmas in Mideast: a narrow coalition of hawks who would stall peacemaking with the Palestinians and a power-sharing arrangement that would give Israel a more moderate face and greater international support.

“We want to do things differently in the region. That would involve accelerating efforts to promote Mideast peace talks as well as having discourse with Iran in an environment of mutual respect,” Obama said at his White House news conference Monday. “We certainly hope that a new (Israeli) government will continue to pursue a path to peace. I see no reason to think a new government would do something otherwise,” US State Department spokesman Robert Wood said.

“Divisions in the Israeli electorate are likely to create ‘paralysis in the political process’ during the period of coalition building and perhaps beyond. This could lead to an extended “hiatus” in peacemaking while the Palestinians confront their own deep political divisions. Nevertheless, the United States should work hard to firm up the Gaza cease-fire and not to give up on the longer-term goal of a two-state solution,” said Daniel C. Kurtzer, a former top U.S. diplomat in the Mideast and a recent adviser to Barack Obama.

“The Israeli political system has been fractured and at odds with itself for many years, so having an outcome in which the two big blocs–the center-right and moderate-right blocs–split the vote was not at all unexpected. There will be a paralysis in the political process, certainly during the period of coalition building and perhaps even beyond, depending on what kind of coalition emerges. The hiatus in peacemaking could be rather extended,” he explained.



Related news

  • “Israeli coalition talks degenerate after Shas departure” — Wikinews, October 24, 2008
  • “Israeli PM Olmert to step down in September” — Wikinews, July 31, 2008
  • “Netanyahu quits over Israel’s pullout plan” — Wikinews, August 7, 2005

Sources

Wikipedia Learn more about Israeli legislative election, 2009, Tzipi Livni, and Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu on Wikipedia.
Bookmark-new.svg


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

January 31, 2009

Swiss canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden fights back after invasion of German naked hikers

Swiss canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden fights back after invasion of German naked hikers

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search
Switzerland
Other stories from Switzerland
…More articles here
Location of Switzerland

A map showing the location of Switzerland

To write, edit, start or view other articles on Switzerland, see the Switzerland Portal
Flag of Switzerland.svg

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Nude hiking in Gard, summer 2008 with 39 persons

A local Swiss government has shown some bare cheek and has taken action, after hordes of German naked hikers rambling across the Swiss alps au naturel, caused indignation amongst locals.

Authorities in Swiss canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden have warned that starting from February 9, the government will impose hefty fines of 200 Swiss Francs (£122, €135) on naturists found walking or hiking in the nude without clothes in the picturesque mountains because of a recent influx of visiting German nudists.

The new ordinance is expected to be passed this spring. If it is approved by the local parliament on February 9 it should be effective on April 26. The Swiss canton aims to stop spread of ‘indecent practice’ by minimally-clad German climbers.

The problem started with a group of “boot-only hikers” who were stopped by the police in the Alpine region last autumn. They had wandered there regularly, proudly marching through nature with bare bums, and had also advertised what they thought was a naked paradise on the internet. But it was all too much for the Swiss.

A nude rambler dressed in nothing more than a rucksack and walking boots in the eastern Appenzell region was arrested and detained in the canton, but authorities were unable to file lawsuit because the act was not punished by law or ordinance at the time.

“We were forced to introduce the legislation against this indecent practice before the warm weather starts,” Melchior Looser, the canton’s justice and police minister, said. “Ultimately, in the summer lots of kids stay in our mountains,” he added.

Canton, Appenzell Innerrhoden in Switzerland.

In the guidelines imposed, arrested offenders who cannot pay the fine, will face legal action. The new enabling ordinance has, however, been met with protests by nude hikers. “We simply try to tune into nature. It’s the most harmless pursuit possible,” said Dietmar, age 58, a German lawyer.

German tabloid Bild Zeitung has editorially attacked Swiss intolerance and even suggested nudist alternatives worldwide, after hinting a Swiss tourism boycott. Local authorities of Harz mountain range in central Germany have also announced the openness to any visitor of an “official naked walking route” in nature’s outdoors.

Freikörperkultur (“FKK”), or “free body culture”, is a popular pastime in Germany. It is a German movement which endorses a naturistic approach to sports and community living. Behind that is the joy of the experience of nature or also on being nude itself, without direct relationship to sexuality. The followers of this culture are called traditional naturists, FKK’ler, or nudists.

The naked ramblers have hoped it doesn’t lead to another naturist-clothed ‘war’, like the one at a beach between German and Polish holidaymakers in 2008. Naturism has roots traced from the start of the 20th century. “Abandoning unpractical clothes enables a direct contact with the wind, sun and temperature”, naked hiker website nacktwandern.de stated.

But Markus Dörig, a spokesman for Appenzell Innerrhoden canton has defended the law, explaining that the “public nuisance” was a foreign import. “We have been receiving many complaints. The local people are upset and we in the government share their concern. How would one feel if one was to go walking in nature and suddenly came across a group of naked people? They are definitely not people from the area, and I think many of them come from Germany,” he noted.

“We are a small and orderly community and such things are simply out of place here. Perhaps in vast mountain areas naked people would not be much of a problem but here they simply stick out,” Dörig added. “I can understand that we all have to live in this world together,” said Barbara Foley, International Naturist Foundation member of the central committee. “But I would certainly enjoy doing the hike in the nude and I wouldn’t want to be deprived of it. It’s nice to feel the sun on your skin. Maybe they should designate a couple of trails and people would know they might come across naturists there,” she added.

Altmann, a mountain in the Appenzell Alps in Switzerland.

Appenzell Innerrhoden (Appenzell Inner Rhodes) is the smallest canton of Switzerland by population and the second smallest by area, Basel-City having less area. The population of the canton was 15,471 as of 2007, of which 1,510 (or 9.76%) were foreigners. The canton in the north east of Switzerland has an area is 173 km². It was divided in 1597 for religious reasons from the former canton Appenzell, with Appenzell Ausserrhoden being the other half.

Appenzell is the capital of this canton. The constitution was established in 1872. Most of the canton is pastoral, this despite being mountainous. Cattle breeding and dairy farming are the main agricultural activities: Appenzeller cheese is widely available throughout Switzerland. Due to the split of Appenzell along religious lines, the population (as of 2000) is nearly all Roman Catholic (81%), with a small Protestant minority (10%).

The town, however is far from liberalism: the canton granted women the right of suffrage only in 1990 under pressure from the Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland and international human rights groups. The Alpine village of Appenzell Innerrhoden, being known for its beautiful landscape, has recently been declared a “naked rambler paradise” by a German mountaineering website, which was created by a lobby group of hikers.



Related news

Sister links

  • Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg Portal:Nudity
  • Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg Naked hiking
  • Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg Appenzell Innerrhoden

Sources

Bookmark-new.svg


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

January 22, 2009

Two in 2008 Chinese tainted milk scandal sentenced to death, life imprisonment

Other stories from China
…More articles here
Location of China

A map showing the location of China

To write, edit, start or view other articles on China, see the China Portal

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Half a million participated in anti-China demonstrations (Oct 25 2008) in Taiwan

The Shijiazhuang Municipal Intermediate people’s court in Hebei province Thursday has promulgated judgment pronouncing sentences for 21 defendants implicated in the 16 July 2008 Chinese melamine scandal, that killed at least six infants and sickened nearly 300,000 others.

In the local court’s decision, 17 accused were indicted for the crimes of “producing, adding melamine-laced ‘protein powder’ to infant milk or selling tainted, fake and substandard milk to Sanlu Group or 21 other dairy companies,” including six who were charged with the crime of “endangering public security by dangerous means.” Four other courts in Wuji County, in Hebei, China had also tried cases on the milk scandal.

Zhang Yujun, age 40, of Quzhou County, (Hebei), who produced and sold melamine-laced “protein powder” in the milk scandal, was convicted of endangering public security and sentenced to death by the Shijiazhuang Intermediate people’s court in Hebei province.

The local court also imposed the supreme penalty of death upon Geng Jinping, who added melamine into raw milk. Geng Jinzhu, his brother, who was adjudged a co-conspirator, who assisted in adding melamine, was sentenced to eight years imprisonment.

The court also imposed a suspended capital punishment pending a review, with two years probation, upon Gao Junjie. Under the law, a suspended death sentence is equivalent to life imprisonment with good behavior. The court ruled that Gao designed melamine-tainted “protein powder” in Zhengding County underground factory near Shijiazhuang. His wife Xiao Yu was also sentenced to five years imprisonment.

Sanlu Group GM Tian Wenhua (田文華), age 66, who was charged under Articles 144 and 150 of the criminal code was sentenced to life imprisonment for producing and selling fake or substandard products. She was also fined 20 million yuan ($2.92 million) while Sanlu, which has been declared bankrupt, was fined 49.37 million yuan ($7.3 million).

According to Zhang Deli, chief procurator of the Hebei Provincial People’s Procuratorate, Chinese police had arrested another 39 people in connection with the scandal. Authorities last year had also arrested 12 milk dealers and suppliers who allegedly sold contaminated milk to Sanlu, and six people were charged with selling melamine.

In late December, 17 people involved in producing, selling, buying and adding melamine in raw milk went on trial. Tian Wenhua and three other Sanlu executives appeared in court in Shijiazhuang, charged with producing and selling fake or substandard milk contaminated with melamine. Tian pleaded guilty, and told the court during her 14-hour December 31 trial, she learned about the tainted milk complaints from consumers in mid-May. She then apparently headed a working team to handle the case, but did not report to the Shijiazhuang city government until 2 August.

Ball-and-stick model of melamine.

The court also sentenced Zhang Yanzhang, age 20, to the lesser penalty of life imprisonment. Yanzhang worked with Zhang Yujun, having bought the protein powder and resold them. The convicts were deprived of their political rights for life.

Xue Jianzhong and Zhang Yanjun, were punished with life imprisonment and 15 years jail sentence respectively. The court found them responsible for employment of workers to produce about 200 tons of the tainted infant milk formula, and selling supplies to Sanlu, earning more than one million yuan.

“From October 2007 to August 2008, Zhang Yujun produced 775.6 tons of ‘protein powder’ that contained the toxic chemical of melamine, and sold more than 600 tons of it with a total value of 6.83 million yuan ($998,000). He sold 230 tons of the “protein powder” to Zhang Yanzhang, who will stay behind bars for the rest of his life under the same charge. Both Zhangs were ‘fully aware of the harm of melamine’ while they produced and sold the chemical, and should be charged for endangering the public security,” the Court ruled.

The local Court also imposed jail sentences of between five years and 15 years upon three top Sanlu executives. Wang Yuliang and Hang Zhiqi, both former deputy general managers, and Wu Jusheng, former raw milk department manager, were respectively sentenced to 15 years, eight years and five years imprisonment. In addition, the court directed Sanlu, and Wang to pay multi-million dollar fines.

The judgment states “the infant milk powder was then resold to private milk collectors in Shijiazhuang, Tangsan, Xingtai and Zhangjiakou in Hebei.” Some collectors added it to raw milk for apparent higher protein enhancement, and the milk was then resold to Sanlu Group.

“The Chinese government authorities have been paying great attention to food safety and product quality,” Yu Jiang Yu (姜瑜), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson for the People’s Republic of China said. “After the case broke out, the Chinese government strengthened rules and regulations and took a lot of other measures to strengthen regulations and monitor food safety,” she added.

People’s Republic of China’s Intermediate people’s court (中级人民法院) is the second lowest local people’s court. Under the Organic Law of the People’s Courts of the People’s Republic of China, it has jurisdiction over important local cases in the first instance and hear appeal cases from the Basic people’s courts.

The 16 July Chinese melamine scandal was a food safety incident in the People’s Republic of China involving milk and infant formula, and other food materials and components, which had been adulterated with melamine.

Fonterra Riverina Fresh in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia.

In November 2008, the Chinese government reported an estimated 300,000 victims have suffered; six infants have died from kidney stones and other acute renal infections, while 860 babies were hospitalized. The chemical is normally used to make plastics, fertilizer, coatings and laminates, wood adhesives, fabric coatings, ceiling tiles and flame retardants. It was added by the accused to infant milk powder, making it appear to have a higher protein content. In 2004, a watered-down milk resulted in 13 Chinese infant deaths from malnutrition.

The tainted milk scandal hit the headlines on 16 July, after sixteen babies in Gansu Province who had been fed on milk powder produced by Shijiazhuang-based Sanlu Group were diagnosed with kidney stones. Sanlu is 43% owned by New Zealand‘s Fonterra. After the initial probe on Sanlu, government authorities confirmed the health problem existed to a lesser degree in products from 21 other companies, including Mengniu, Yili, and Yashili.

From August 2 to September 12 last year Sanlu produced 904 tonnes of melamine-tainted infant milk powder. It sold 813 tonnes of the fake or substandard products, making 47.5 million yuan ($13.25 million). In December, Xinhua reported that the Ministry of Health confirmed 290,000 victims, including 51,900 hospitalized. It further acknowledged reports of “11 suspected deaths from melamine contaminated milk powder from provinces, but officially confirmed 3 deaths.”

Sanlu Group which filed a bankruptcy petition, which was accepted by the Shijiazhuang Intermediate People’s Court last month, and the other 21 dairy companies, have proposed a 1.1 billion yuan (元) ($160 million) compensation plan for court settlement. Sanlu stopped production on September 12 amid huge debts estimated at 1.1 billion yuan. On December 19, the company borrowed 902 million yuan for medical and compesation payment to victims of the scandal.

Sanlu on January 16 paid compensation of 200,000-yuan ($29,000; £21,000) to parents of the first baby who died amid Supreme Court petitions praying for larger amounts of damages filed on January 19 by 213 families. The litigants led by Zhao Lianhai, also demanded long-term medical treatment for their babies. Chinese investigators confirmed the presence of melamine in nearly 70 milk products from more than 20 companies, quality control official Li Changjiang admitted.

The 22 Chinese dairy producers that produced the adulterated milk powder are expected to pay one-time cash payment of damages to the victims. “The enterprises offered to shoulder the compensation liability,” China’s Dairy Industry Association said late December. “By doing so, they hope to earn understanding and forgiveness of the families of the sickened children,” it added.


Related news

Sources

Wikipedia
Learn more about 2008 Chinese milk scandal and Melamine on Wikipedia.
  • “Timeline: China milk scandal”. BBC Online, January 12, 2009
  • Zhang Xiang “Two sentenced to death for roles in China milk scandal”. Xinhua, January 22, 2009
  • Zhu Zhe and Cui XiaohuoSanlu “Sanlu ex-boss gets life for milk scandal”. China Daily, January 22, 2009
  • AP “Dairy’s ex-boss gets life sentence”. The National (Abu Dhabi), January 22, 2009
  • AP “Chinese court issues death sentences over melamine scandal”. The New Zealand Herald, January 22, 2009
  • John Vause “Death sentences in China tainted milk case”. CNN, January 22, 2009
  • Anita Chang “2 condemned to death for role in China milk crisis”. Associated Press, January 22, 2009
  • Tania Branigan “Chinese figures show fivefold rise in babies sick from contaminated milk”. The Guardian, December 2, 2008
  • Mu Xuequan “China seizes 22 companies with contaminated baby milk powder”. Xinhua, September 17, 2008
This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

January 21, 2009

Australian writer Harry Nicolaides jailed for three years for insulting Thai Royal Family

Australian writer Harry Nicolaides jailed for three years for insulting Thai Royal Family

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Thailand
Other stories from Thailand
  • 21 May 2015: Yingluck Shinawatra, former Thai prime minster, begins her trial in Bangkok over corruption allegations
  • 18 May 2015: Over 900 asylum seekers rescued off Indonesian coast
  • 5 June 2014: ‘Hunger Games’ salute used to protest coup d’état in Thailand
  • 3 March 2014: Thai school bus crash kills fifteen
  • 9 December 2013: Thai Prime Minister dissolves parliament and calls elections
…More articles here
Location of Thailand

A map showing the location of Thailand

To write, edit, start or view other articles on Thailand, see the Thailand Portal
Flag of Thailand.svg

File:King Bhumibol Adulyadej Portrait.jpg

Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
(Image missing from commons: image; log)

Melbourne writer Harry Nicolaides, 41, was sentenced on Monday to three years imprisonment for defaming the Royal Family of Thailand. He had pled guilty to the lèse majesté indictment that arose from a self-published 2005 novel, Verisimilitude, of which only 50 copies were printed, and just seven sold. Meanwhile, yesterday, the Thai police charged a leading leftist political science professor, Dr. Giles Ji Ungpakorn, with lèse majesté.

The passage of concern, which comprised only 103 words or 12 lines, referred to a crown prince’s love life. This allegedly insulted the lifestyle of H.R.H. Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, the only son of Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit.

The Royal Family of Thailand is the current ruling house of the Kingdom of Thailand, the Head of the House of the King of Thailand. It is protected by law (Lèse majesté) from insult, with the charge carrying a maximum 15-year sentence.

“He has written a book that slandered the king, the crown prince of Thailand and the monarchy,” the judge ruled. “He was found guilty under criminal law article 112 and the court has sentenced him to six years, but due to his confession, which is beneficial to the case, the sentence is reduced to three years,” the judge explained.

Nicolaides earlier confessed to having slandered 81-year-old King Bhumibol and his son Vajiralongkorn. “I respect the King of Thailand. I was aware there were obscure laws (about the monarchy) but I didn’t think they would apply to me,” he tearfully said. He was arrested and detained at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport on August 31 as he tried to leave the country on a routine trip. Nicolaides was unaware of an arrest warrant issued on March 17, since he was not officially notified of the preliminary investigation.

Nicolaides had even sent copies of the published book to the Thai Ministry of Culture and Foreign Affairs, the national library and the Bureau of the Royal Household, for approval. In the decision, the Thai judge clarified that Nicolaides had placed the monarchy into disrepute, even obliquely, by his “reckless choice of words”. The judgment cited a passage about the novel’s fictional prince which caused “dishonour” to the royals and suggested an “abuse of royal power.”

The fictional passage in question goes as follows:

From King Rama to the Crown Prince, the nobility was renowned for their romantic entanglements and intrigues. The crown prince had many wives, ‘major and minor’, with a coterie of concubines for entertainment. One of his recent wives was exiled with her entire family, including a son they conceived together, for an undisclosed indiscretion. He subsequently remarried another woman, and fathered another child. It was rumoured that if the prince fell in love with one of his minor wives, and she betrayed him, she and her family would disappear with their name, familial lineage and all vestiges of their existence expunged forever.
Verisimilitude, Harry Nicolaides

Nicolaides, who had worked in Thailand from 2003 to 2005 as a Chiang Rai university lecturer in hospitality and tourism, left the Bangkok court wearing a dark orange prison jumpsuit with his feet shackled. “This is an Alice-in-Wonderland experience. I really believe that I am going to wake up and all of you will be gone. I would like to apologise. This can’t be real. It feels like a bad dream,” said Nicolaides. He felt “dreadful,” adding, “I wish my family the best.”

Queen Sirikit of Thailand with Vladimir Putin in Kremlin, Moscow (July, 2007)

His brother Forde Nicolaides said Harry is not appealing but will request a Thai royal pardon. “We’re devastated. You might be able to hear my mother crying in the background. It’s quite devastating for us. The whole case has been a massive emotional ordeal that has consumed our entire family. It’s beyond belief,” Forde was reported as saying.

Nicolaides’ family has attributed some blame to the Rudd government for its failure to intervene in the case. Forde criticized Foreign Minister Stephen Smith: “There is a huge expectation gap between what Australian citizens think the Australian government will do when they are in trouble overseas versus what they will do.”

Harry’s father Socrates Nicolaides, 83, delivered an appeal letter to Mr. Rudd last week. “I said to him, as one father to another father, please Mr. Prime Minister, I plead with you to do your utmost to do everything in your power to get Harry released,” Mr. Nicolaides said. His wife Despina Nicolaides, 75, collapsed when she saw the video footage of her son. “He has just written a book,” she said amid tears.

Despina Nicolaides said on Wednesday she appealed to King Bhumibol for a royal pardon, but her family has not received any reply from the Thai government. “We don’t know when really it will be okay for Harry to be released – they don’t say anything,” she said. “I’m worrying sick. I hope that they will help us too like they did the Swiss people,” she added.

According to Foreign Minister Smith, an Australian consular staff in Bangkok visited Nicolaides 25 times in prison. “We understand the anxiety that is being felt by Mr. Nicolaides and his family, however, he is subject to the legal and judicial processes of Thailand,” the Smith’s spokesman said. Moreover, Thai laws require a waiting period of 30 days from promulgation of the sentence before Nicolaides becomes eligible to apply for a Thai King’s pardon.

Cquote1.svg I feel persecuted, to be honest… I want to be given a chance to apologise and explain. Cquote2.svg

—–Harry Nicolaides

Smith mentioned that he had forwarded the Federal Government’s letter to Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya Monday for the Australian writer’s pardon. “I raised Mr. Nicolaides’ case with then Thai Foreign Minister Sompong when we met at APEC in November last year,” Mr. Smith added.

Independent Senator Nicholas (Nick) Xenophon has called on the Australian Federal Government to exert pressure on Thailand for the early repatriation of Nicolaides who has already served five months in jail. He has been refused bail four times. Xenophon is a South Australian barrister, anti-gambling campaigner and No Pokies, independent in the South Australian Legislative Council.

“The imprisonment has taken a heavy toll on his physical and mental health. He has lost weight, he has been continually unwell for extended periods of time and obviously psychologically he has found the experience of being in prison in Thailand very challenging,” his Australian lawyer, Mark Dean SC said. “Once that sentence is passed, if it’s not a suspended sentence, then an application will be made for a royal pardon and we’re hoping that that will be processed as quickly as possible,” he added.

Acting Premier of Victoria, Justin Hulls said he has enquired about whether Victorian Government can provide assistance to Nicolaides. Hulls’ legal team applied for a Thai royal pardon. His office has also communicated with lawyers of the case and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Nicholas (Nick) Xenophon.

According to Reporters Without Borders (RWB, or Reporters Sans Frontières), a Paris-based international non-governmental organization that advocates freedom of the press, the sentence imposed was “a serious violation of free expression.” The group has expressed concern at the use of the Lèse majesté laws to suppress political discussion and dissenting voices.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the Thai police filed a lèse majesté case against Dr. Giles Ji Ungpakorn, 55, a political science professor at Chulalongkorn University and Thailand’s leading leftist political analyst. “The government, the prime minister, should order that they (the lese majeste laws) cease being used against people and that a whole review of the law should take place,” Giles said.

The accusations against Giles stem from the publishing a 2007 anti-military coup book, ‘A Coup for the Rich,’ which can be downloaded free on his blog http://www.wdpress.blog.co.uk. The 144-page critique is an academic textbook dealing with the Thailand political crisis 2005-2006, the bloodless coup of September 19, 2006 which overthrew former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Professor Ungpakorn’s father Puey Ungpakorn was the Bank of Thailand’s governor for 12 years and also a Thammasat University dean, and whose brother Jon Ungpakorn is a former senator.

Giles was duly informed of the charges at the central Pathum Wan Police Station. He was granted 20 days to file a sworn counter-statement to the police, who will then rule on whether to file formal charges in the courts for trial. “Lèse majesté is being used to destroy free speech,” said Giles who denied the charges. “The lès majesté laws are there to protect the military and to protect governments that come to power through military action. They’re not really about protecting the monarchy,” he added.

The Thai people believe that King Bhumibol and the Thai Royal Family are semi-divine. Accordingly, insulting the monarchy is taken extremely seriously in Thailand. Justice Minister Pirapan Salirathavibhaga earlier vowed to impose tougher regulations to implement the laws. Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, however, announced last week that he was trying to “strike the balance between upholding the law and allowing freedom of expression.” Pirapan has reported that more than 10,000 websites have similar criminal contents.

Sulak Sivaraksa.

The Thai government had already blocked about 4,000 websites, including 2,300 websites recently, for alleged violations of lèse majesté law. As of last week, more than 17 criminal cases of insulting the royal family were still pending. About 400 more websites await a court restraining order, according to Information and Communication (ICT) Minister Ranongruk Suwanchawee.

Lèse majesté cases have been filed against several people, including Chotisak On-soong, Jitra Kotchadej, Darunee Charnchoengsilpakul, Suwicha Thakhor, Sondhi Limthongkul, and social activists like Sulak Sivaraksa who were charged in the 1980s and 1990s. The King, however, has routinely granted pardons to most people jailed for lèse majesté. In March 2007, Swiss national Oliver Jufer was convicted of lèse majesté and sentenced to 10 years for spray-painting on several portraits of the king while drunk in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Jufer was pardoned by the king on April 12, 2007.

In March 2008, Police Colonel Watanasak Mungkijakarndee filed a similar case against Jakrapob Penkhair for comments made in a Foreign Correspondents’ Club (FCCT) event in August 2007. In 2008 BBC south-east Asia correspondent Jonathan Head was accused of lèse majesté three times by Colonel Watanasak Mungkijakarndee. In the most recent case Watanasak filed new charges highlighting a conspiracy connecting Jonathan Head to Veera Musikapong at the FCCT.

Canberra Thai Embassy Minister counselor, Saksee Phromyothi, on Wednesday defended the country’s harsh lèse majesté, saying that, “under Thailand’s constitution, the king was above politics and was prevented from publicly defending himself from personal attacks.” Mr. Saksee explained that “99 per cent of foreigners convicted under this law get pardoned and then we deport them.”



Related news

  • “Sondhi may face arrest over lèse majesté allegations” — Wikinews, April 17, 2006

Sister links

  • Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg Bhumibol Adulyadej
  • Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg Lèse majesté

Sources

Bookmark-new.svg


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

January 7, 2009

China targets Google, Baidu and Internet portals over porn

China targets Google, Baidu and Internet portals over porn

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Internet
Related stories
  • Supreme Court of Sweden agrees to try Bildkonst Upphovsrätt i Sverige versus Wikimedia Sverige
  • Wikinews interviews Asaf Bartov, Head of Wikimedia Grants Program and Global South Partnerships
  • Google shuts down Google News Spain
  • Wikinews interviews Mario J. Lucero and Isabel Ruiz of Heaven Sent Gaming
  • Parts of internet break as ‘512k day’ reached by routers

Graphical map of the Internet
More information at Wikipedia:
  • Internet portal
  • Internet
  • History of the Internet
  • Internet censorship
  • Internet Protocol
  • World Wide Web

A blacklist of 19 leading search engine portals and websites, including Google and Baidu, that “spread pornography or vulgar content, and threaten the morals of young people” has been published, the Chinese government said Monday.

According to Xinhua News Agency, six central agencies, led by the Ministry of Public Security and Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, conducted an intensified month-long campaign to clean up the Internet of unhealthy, vulgar and porn materials.

“The government will continue to expose, punish or even shut down those infamous Web sites that refuse to correct their wrongdoing,” Cai Mingzhao, deputy director of the State Council Information Office, said. “Immediate action is needed to purify the Internet environment.”.

“Pornography is banned in China and websites that feature erotic content are morally offensive,” Huang Chengqing, deputy secretary-general of the Internet Society of China, said.

Headquarters of the Ministry of Public Security in Beijing

The China Internet Illegal Information Reporting Center demanded the web portals, a number of video sharing sites and bulletin boards, including Sina, Sohu and NetEase, Google in Chinese and other websites to remove sexually-explicit photos after due notice but they failed and continued providing links to obscene sites.

Google China’s spokeswoman Cui Jin, however, explained that “Google is neither the owner of those Web sites and porn nor does it spread (that) information intentionally. We have also adopted ‘safe search’ as the default setting, which automatically blocks sites with such content.”

Baidu, NetEase.com.Inc and SINA Corp., in web statements on Wednesday, admitted their guilt, and apologized for failing to curb “porn” content. Google’s China, on the other hand vowed to cooperate with Internet users and society to help establish a healthy Internet culture. “After we received notice from relevant government departments … (we) cleaned up links to vulgar content that could have adverse effects on Internet users,” it added.

Google’s China headquarters in the Tsinghua Science Park, Beijing.

Sohu, and Tencent, the most popular free instant messaging computer program in Mainland China, and the world’s third most popular IM service, as well as an internet portal, apologized separately late Tuesday. China’s Criminal Law penalizes distribution of pornographic and obscene publications, videos, articles for nonprofit use with a maximum of two years imprisonment. However, the law is vague on the definition of “distributing vulgar materials.” Beijing Internet management office, staff, Wang Qiang, on Wednesday said “they were working on punishment schemes for the more vague charge of spreading vulgar images.”

In June 2008, China had more than 253 million Internet users, according to Xinhua. The country has been severely criticized for web censorship. In a 2008 report, the U.S. State Department stated that “China had increased its efforts to control and censor the Internet, and the government had tightened restrictions on freedom of speech and the domestic press and bloggers.”

In 1996 Chinese Internet users were required to “sign a set of rules that makes it illegal for users to produce or receive pornography.” In 2007 the public security ministry declared it would curb porn, online strip shows, including even erotic stories. Tianya Club, one of the most popular Chinese Internet forums, where members post government attacks, had also been publicly criticized.

In December, a woman was arrested and jailed in Shanghai for uploading home-made videos, allegedly showing her performing sex acts. In 2008, Hong Kong actor Edison Chen’s and his female partner’s obscene pictures circulated in the Chinese internet. Nearly a dozen people were arrested and detained by the authorities for distributing the porn materials. On Monday, these and photos of actress Zhang Ziyi sunbathing topless on a beach still appeared online.

Edison Chen (November 14, 2005)

In September 2008, Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao said, “to uphold state security, China, like many countries in the world, has also imposed some proper restrictions. That is for the safety, that is for the overall safety of the country and for the freedom of the majority of the people.” To control public opinion, Chinese authorities had used a sophisticated spin machine dubbed as “50-cent party.” Tens of thousands of “internet commentators” were hired and paid 50 Chinese cents ($0.07; £0.05) for each positive posting on websites and forums that upload bad news.

Internet censorship in the People’s Republic of China is conducted under a wide variety of laws and administrative regulations. In accordance with these laws, more than sixty Internet regulations have been made by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) government, and censorship systems are vigorously implemented by provincial branches of state-owned ISPs, business companies, and organizations. The escalation of the government’s effort to neutralize critical online opinion comes after a series of large anti-Japanese, anti-pollution and anti-corruption protests, many of which were organized or publicized using instant messaging services, chat rooms, and text messages. The size of the Internet police is estimated at more than 30,000.

Internet Service Providers Association of Ireland (ISPAI), general manager Paul Durant, said that “each country decides how far it brings up the bar in terms of illegal content. If we are notified of material suspected of being illegal, we can trace it and establish whether it is or not, and then action can be taken if necessary. We are not a censor. If content is found to be illegal, we work with the relevant ISP and the law enforcement agencies throughout Europe to have it taken down. It can lead to huge collateral damage — you could block one site, for example, which is providing co-location hosting where people have lots of sites under one IP address. This means innocent sites risk being taken out.”

The authorities centered on pornography but the major government agenda is to control freedom of expression and to remove destabilizing online portal contents, which attack the Communist Party, suggest democracy or advocate Taiwan independence. In December, over 300 lawyers, writers, scholars and artists jointly signed “Charter 08” online petition, which advocates human rights protection by formulation of a new constitution.

Meanwhile, Center for Democracy and Technology’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Leslie Harris, said: “Look at the words the Chinese government is using: ‘low-class,’ ‘crude.’ That could apply to anything. If the content is coming from China, I would be concerned their use of such broad terms is intended to reach political and religious content, general disagreement.”



Related news

Sources

Wikipedia Learn more about Internet censorship in the People’s Republic of China and List of websites blocked in the People’s Republic of China on Wikipedia.
Bookmark-new.svg


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

January 6, 2009

Imperial College London geology students fined in China for “illegal map-making”

Other stories from China
…More articles here
Location of China

A map showing the location of China

To write, edit, start or view other articles on China, see the China Portal
Portal:China

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Royal School of Mines (entrance and the Goldsmiths’ wing, Prince Consort Road, London) comprises Imperial College London‘s Earth Science, Engineering, and Materials departments.

Three British geology students of Imperial College London have been fined in China for “illegal survey and map-making activities”, according to local media. The students were researching earthquake activity, fault lines and making maps in Xinjiang, which is a tense Muslim province to the west of the country, and where anger against Chinese rule caused the 2008 deadly attacks.

The students were also gathering data in several regions, including Kashgar, the ancient Silk Road trading post, and an oasis city in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China. The students also had been in the poor desert village of Keping, where local authorities in May burned the local mosque due to “unlawful religious activities.” Of the threee, the two students, a PhD student aged 23, and a Master of Science student aged 22, went to Aksu Prefecture for their research.

The students are studying at the Imperial College London, and had been researching fault lines in the remote western region of Xinjiang, where anger against Chinese rule caused the 2008 deadly attacks.

In September, State Security Bureau officials had investigated the students at a hotel for several hours. Thereafter, their equipments, including GPS devices, survey results and data, were seized. The Aksu Land and Resources Bureau officers claimed they had gathered “illegal data” from 6,000 points which was valuable for mineral prospecting and topographical research.

Panorama of downtown Korla, Xinjiang in the majestic Tian Shan mountain range. May 2007.

In the leadup to last year’s summer Olympics in Beijing, China cracked down on map-making and data-collecting across the country. Despite having permission from the Earthquake Administration in the country, the students were fined a combined 20,000 yuan (2,940 dollars) but did not receive additional punishments. “The data they gathered would have been valuable in analysing mineral and topographic features of the areas,” Xinjiang Daily said.

According to The Procuratorial Daily, the Xinjiang prosecutors’ office approved 1,295 arrests of individuals and indicted 1,154 suspects from January to November 2008. The indictment was based on the crime of suspicion of “endangering state security.” In 2007, however, only 742 were arrested, while 619 of them were indicted for the same offense.


Related news

Sources

Wikipedia
Learn more about Imperial College London and Xinjiang on Wikipedia.
  • Richard Spencer “British students fined for ‘illegal map-making’ in China”. The Daily Telegraph, January 5, 2009
  • “China fines British students for ‘illegal map-making'”. Yahoo, January 5, 2009
  • “China fines UK students for ‘illegal map-making’: state media”. Agence France-Presse, January 5, 2009
  • Edward Wong “Nearly 1,300 arrested in Muslim region of China”. International Herald Tribune, January 5, 2009
  • “Kashgar”. Silkroadcn.com, 2008
This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

Imperial College London geology students fined in China for “illegal map-making”

Other stories from China
…More articles here
Location of China

A map showing the location of China

To write, edit, start or view other articles on China, see the China Portal
Portal:China

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Royal School of Mines (entrance and the Goldsmiths’ wing, Prince Consort Road, London) comprises Imperial College London‘s Earth Science, Engineering, and Materials departments.

Three British geology students of Imperial College London have been fined in China for “illegal survey and map-making activities”, according to local media. The students were researching earthquake activity, fault lines and making maps in Xinjiang, which is a tense Muslim province to the west of the country, and where anger against Chinese rule caused the 2008 deadly attacks.

The students were also gathering data in several regions, including Kashgar, the ancient Silk Road trading post, and an oasis city in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China.

Under Dr Jian Guo Liu, supervisor, a Reader in Remote Sensing at Imperial College, they also had been in the poor desert village of Keping, where local authorities in May burned the local mosque due to “unlawful religious activities.” Of the threee, the two students, a PhD student aged 23, and a Master of Science student aged 22, went to Aksu Prefecture for their research.

In September, State Security Bureau officials had investigated the students at a hotel for several hours. Thereafter, their equipments, including GPS devices, survey results and data, were seized. The Aksu Land and Resources Bureau officers claimed they had gathered “illegal data” from 6,000 points which was valuable for mineral prospecting and topographical research.

Panorama of downtown Korla, Xinjiang in the majestic Tian Shan mountain range. May 2007.

In the leadup to last year’s summer Olympics in Beijing, China cracked down on map-making and data-collecting across the country. Despite having permission from the Earthquake Administration in the country, the students were fined a combined 20,000 yuan (2,940 dollars) but did not receive additional punishments. “The data they gathered would have been valuable in analysing mineral and topographic features of the areas,” Xinjiang Daily said. They returned to the UK on October 2.

According to The Procuratorial Daily, the Xinjiang prosecutors’ office approved 1,295 arrests of individuals and indicted 1,154 suspects from January to November 2008. The indictment was based on the crime of suspicion of “endangering state security.” In 2007, however, only 742 were arrested, while 619 of them were indicted for the same offense.


Related news

Sources

Wikipedia
Learn more about Imperial College London and Xinjiang on Wikipedia.
  • Richard Spencer “British students fined for ‘illegal map-making’ in China”. The Daily Telegraph, January 5, 2009
  • “China fines British students for ‘illegal map-making'”. Yahoo, January 5, 2009
  • “China fines UK students for ‘illegal map-making’: state media”. Agence France-Presse, January 5, 2009
  • Edward Wong “Nearly 1,300 arrested in Muslim region of China”. International Herald Tribune, January 5, 2009
  • “Kashgar”. Silkroadcn.com, 2008
This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

Imperial College London geology students fined in China for “illegal map-making”

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Other stories from China
…More articles here
Location of China

A map showing the location of China

To write, edit, start or view other articles on China, see the China Portal
Portal:China

Royal School of Mines (entrance and the Goldsmiths’ wing, Prince Consort Road, London) comprises Imperial College London‘s Earth Science, Engineering, and Materials departments.

Three British geology students of Imperial College London have been fined in China for “illegal survey and map-making activities”, according to local media. The students were researching earthquake activity, fault lines and making maps in Xinjiang, which is a tense Muslim province to the west of the country, and where anger against Chinese rule caused the deadly attacks in 2008.

The students were gathering additional data in several regions, including Kashgar, the ancient Silk Road trading post, and an oasis city in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China.

Under Dr Jian Guo Liu, supervisor, a Reader in Remote Sensing at Imperial College, they also had been in the poor desert village of Keping, where local authorities in May burned the local mosque due to “unlawful religious activities.” Of the threee, the two students, a PhD student aged 23, and a Master of Science student aged 22, went to Aksu Prefecture for their research.

In September, State Security Bureau officials had investigated the students at a hotel for several hours. Thereafter, their equipment, including GPS devices, survey results, and data, were seized. The Aksu Land and Resources Bureau officers claimed they had gathered “illegal data” from 6,000 points which was valuable for mineral prospecting and topographical research.

Panorama of downtown Korla, Xinjiang in the majestic Tian Shan mountain range. May 2007.

In the leadup to last year’s summer Olympics in Beijing, China cracked down on map-making and data-collecting across the country. Despite having permission from the Earthquake Administration in the country, the students were fined a combined 20,000 yuan (2,940 dollars) but did not receive additional punishments. “The data they gathered would have been valuable in analysing mineral and topographic features of the areas,” Xinjiang Daily said. They returned to the UK on October 2.

According to The Procuratorial Daily, the Xinjiang prosecutors’ office approved 1,295 arrests of individuals and indicted 1,154 suspects from January to November 2008. The indictments were based on suspicion of “endangering state security.” In 2007, however, only 742 were arrested, while 619 of them were indicted for the same offense.

Related news

Sources

Wikipedia
Learn more about Imperial College London and Xinjiang on Wikipedia.
  • Richard Spencer “British students fined for ‘illegal map-making’ in China”. The Daily Telegraph, January 5, 2009
  • “China fines British students for ‘illegal map-making'”. Yahoo, January 5, 2009
  • “China fines UK students for ‘illegal map-making’: state media”. Agence France-Presse, January 5, 2009
  • Edward Wong “Nearly 1,300 arrested in Muslim region of China”. International Herald Tribune, January 5, 2009
  • “Kashgar”. Silkroadcn.com, 2008
This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

Imperial College London geology students fined in China for “illegal map-making”

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Other stories from China
…More articles here
Location of China

A map showing the location of China

To write, edit, start or view other articles on China, see the China Portal
Portal:China

Royal School of Mines (entrance and the Goldsmiths’ wing, Prince Consort Road, London) comprises Imperial College London‘s Earth Science, Engineering, and Materials departments.

Three British geology students of Imperial College London have been fined in China for “illegal survey and map-making activities”, according to local media. The students were researching earthquake activity, fault lines and making maps in Xinjiang, which is a tense Muslim province to the west of the country, and where anger against Chinese rule caused the deadly attacks in 2008.

The students were gathering additional data in several regions, including Kashgar, the ancient Silk Road trading post, and an oasis city in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China.

Under Dr. Jian Guo Liu, the student’s supervisor at Imperial College, they also had been in the poor desert village of Keping, where in May local authorities burned the local mosque due to “unlawful religious activities”. Of the three students, two of them, a PhD student aged 23, and a Master of Science student aged 22, went to Aksu Prefecture for their research.

In September, State Security Bureau officials had investigated the students at a hotel for several hours. Thereafter, their equipment, including GPS devices, survey results, and data, were seized. The Aksu Land and Resources Bureau officers claimed they had gathered “illegal data” from 6,000 points which was valuable for mineral prospecting and topographical research.

Panorama of downtown Korla, Xinjiang in the majestic Tian Shan mountain range. May 2007.

In the leadup to last year’s summer Olympics in Beijing, China cracked down on map-making and data-collecting across the country. Despite having permission from the Earthquake Administration in the country, the students were fined a combined 20,000 yuan (2,940 dollars) but did not receive additional punishments. “The data they gathered would have been valuable in analysing mineral and topographic features of the areas,” Xinjiang Daily said. They returned to the UK on October 2.

According to The Procuratorial Daily, the Xinjiang prosecutors’ office approved 1,295 arrests of individuals and indicted 1,154 suspects from January to November 2008. The indictments were based on suspicion of “endangering state security.” In 2007, however, only 742 were arrested, while 619 of them were indicted for the same offense.

Related news

Sources

Wikipedia
Learn more about Imperial College London and Xinjiang on Wikipedia.
  • Richard Spencer “British students fined for ‘illegal map-making’ in China”. The Daily Telegraph, January 5, 2009
  • “China fines UK students for ‘illegal map-making’: state media”. Agence France-Presse, January 5, 2009
  • Edward Wong “Nearly 1,300 arrested in Muslim region of China”. International Herald Tribune, January 5, 2009
  • “Kashgar”. Silkroadcn.com, 2008
This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.
Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress