Thai Military Court Jails Woman in ‘Secret’ Ruling Over Facebook Posts

A Thai military court has jailed a woman for over nine years for royal defamation, an official said Wednesday, the latest in a series of harsh sentences to raise concern about the draconian law. The most recent high-profile cases include a probe into the US ambassador for comments he made about jail terms under the lese majeste law, and charges ... Read More »

Hyeon Soo Lim: Canadian pastor given life sentence in North Korea

A North Korean court has sentenced a Canadian pastor to life in prison with hard labour for what it called crimes against the state. Hyeon Soo Lim, from the Light Korean Presbyterian Church in Toronto, was given the sentence after a brief trial before the North’s supreme court on Wednesday. He had been in detention since February. Relatives of Lim ... Read More »

Japan upholds rule that married couples must have same surname

Japan’s supreme court has ruled that a 19th-century law forcing married couples to use the same surname – almost always that of the husband – does not violate the constitution. The court’s ruling on Wednesday will be seen as a setback for women’s rights inJapan, just as the prime minister, Shinzo Abe, pushes for a greater role for womenin the ... Read More »

There is no Nazi gold train, Polish scientists say

Scientists have quashed a claim by two amateur treasure hunters that they had discovered a legendary gold train hidden by the Nazis in a southern Polish railway embankment. “There is no train,” Prof Janusz Madej of the Polish mining academy told a press conference in the city of Wałbrzych. The conference was attended by dozens of journalists and television crews ... Read More »

China’s Xi Jinping says internet users must be free to speak their minds

Even as prominent free speech advocate is put on trial for online posts, president says governments must respect citizens’ right to exchange ideas Chinese citizens should have the right to speak their minds on the internet, president Xi Jinping has claimed, just two days after a prominent free speech advocate was put on trial for sending seven tweets. Speaking at ... Read More »

Peshawar school attack: one year on ‘the country is changed completely’

People attend a Lahore rally ahead of the upcoming first anniversary of the Peshawar school attack. It only takes the crash from nearby building work to send the teenage survivors of one of Pakistan’s worst ever terrorist attacks diving for cover. “Everyone is traumatised inside the school,” said Mehran Khan, a 14-year-old student at the Army public school in Peshawar. ... Read More »

Putin says Moscow and Washington seeking joint Syria solution

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) speaks with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow December 15, 2015. President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday in talks with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that Russia and the United States were searching for a solution to the Syria crisis together, calling the situation there acute. ... Read More »

Brazil police raid homes of Speaker Cunha, ministers

Brazilian police raided the homes of Lower House Speaker Eduardo Cunha and two ministers on Tuesday as part of a massive corruption probe, dealing a blow to President Dilma Rousseff`s main coalition partner as it considers backing her impeachment. Federal police said the raids on Cunha’s homes in Rio de Janeiro and the Brasilia capital were among 53 search-and-seizures carried ... Read More »

‘No taboos’ in talks to reach British deal: EU’s Tusk

The man leading European Union negotiations with London aimed at keeping Britain in a reformed EU said on Tuesday they were far from agreeing several points and said an EU summit debate this week should have “no taboos”. Summit chair Donald Tusk, in a letter inviting national leaders to Brussels for a regular two-day meeting, said talks over dinner on ... Read More »

EU plans new border guard to stem migration

The European Union will nearly treble its spending on frontier defense provided by a new European Border and Coast Guard under proposals unveiled on Tuesday to tackle a migration crisis that threatens Europe’s security and passport-free travel area. If approved by governments, the new body will replace the EU’s Frontex agency and have expanded powers, including keeping a 1,500-strong rapid ... Read More »