SEOUL — A South Korean court ended a law requiring Internet contributors to use their real names to leave comments, ruling unanimously Thursday that the policy undermined free speech.
The online naming law took effect in 2007 under a bipartisan push to curb libeling, the spread of false rumors and abusive comments in cyberspace.
South Korea saw a flurry of celebrity suicides allegedly motivated by malicious online comments, which mobilized the move to control the Internet space.
The eight judges at the Constitutional Court said the real name policy discouraged people from voicing dissents out of concern they would be punished.
26 die from heavy rains, flooding
PESHAWAR — Pakistani officials said monsoon rains that triggered flooding in the country’s north have caused at least 26 deaths.
An official at the State Disaster Management Authority said torrential rains that started Wednesday have killed 17 people and damaged about 500 homes in the Pakistan-held Kashmir region.
Another official said nine people died Wednesday in northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Six of the deaths occurred in Mansehra district, and three in Nowshera district.
Premier denies wrong doing in 1995 union fund
CANBERRA — Prime Minister Julia Gillard denied she personally benefited from helping a boyfriend set up a union fund 17 years ago, comprehensively addressing the scandal Thursday for the first time in a likely acknowledgement that silence could harm her party’s election chances next year.
The accusations have dogged Miss Gillard for years, but her news conference came after the Australian newspaper, owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Ltd., apologized on its website for reporting in Thursday’s print edition that she had set up the trust fund in 1995 for Bruce Wilson, a top official with the Australian Workers Union.
Miss Gillard was a lawyer at the time, and had in fact only given legal advice to Mr. Wilson, then her live-in romantic partner.