Briefly: Faults under nuke plant likely active, panel says

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TAIPEI — Former President Chen Shui-bian, already serving a long prison term for corruption, was convicted and sentenced Thursday to another 10 years in another graft case.

Chen was convicted of taking bribes from a local financial group during a high-profile merger case, Taiwan’s highest court said in a statement.

The 62-year-old Chen already is serving an 181/2-year term for corruption and money laundering.

Under Taiwanese law, the maximum time a convict can serve in prison is 20 years unless a life term is imposed. A court will announce early next year how much Chen’s jail term will be extended following Thursday’s ruling.

Prosecutor Chen Hung-ta said the latest conviction is still meaningful because legal authorities would be able to ask the Swiss government to return the $13 million that the Chen family deposited in a Swiss bank.

The court said the money was paid to Chen as a bribe by the financial group involved in the scandal. The sum has been frozen by Swiss authorities since the scandal broke in 2008.

Swiss authorities already have returned to Taiwan about $20 million in deposits held by Chen following his money-laundering conviction.

Chen’s wife, Wu Shu-chen, already sentenced to 19 years and two months on four convictions, including corruption and perjury, also was convicted and sentenced Thursday to eight years in prison for graft.

Wu, 59, is paralyzed from the waist down and confined to a wheelchair. She has been spared from serving her sentence because of poor health.

PHILIPPINES

Rebels call for Aquino ‘alliance’

MANILA — Communist rebels said Thursday they have called for an “alliance” with President Benigno Aquino to undertake programs aimed at ending a long insurgency that has killed tens of thousands of people.

There was no immediate official reaction to the reported offer, which chief rebel negotiator Luis Jalandoni said was made during “special track” talks in The Hague on Monday and Tuesday.

“The ‘special track’ means the offer of alliance and truce offered by the National Democratic Front of the Philippines to the government of the Philippines,” the exiled rebel told reporters in a statement.

Both sides would form a “Committee of National Unity, Peace and Development” to implement agrarian reform, rural development and national industrialization, he added.

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