- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 31, 2002

Singapore fines man for speech violation

SINGAPORE An opposition leader was fined and effectively barred from elections yesterday for giving a speech on banned topics at Singapore's Speakers' Corner a public space set up to promote freer speech in the tightly controlled city-state.

The ruling by the Subordinate Court marked the first time someone has been punished for breaking rules governing speech at Speakers' Corner.

The venue, created by the government in September 2000, is the only place in Singapore where it is legal to speak in public without an official permit.

The opposition leader, Chee Soon Juan, was ordered to pay $1,725 a punishment that prohibits him under Singaporean law from running for parliamentary office for five years.

More Cuban pilgrims defect in Canada

TORONTO More Cuban pilgrims may have defected to Canada yesterday, following in the footsteps of 23 youngsters who abandoned their delegation during World Youth Day celebrations in Toronto, the head of a Cuban group said.

Ismael Sambra, president of the Cuban Canadian Foundation, said the organization had been told an unspecified number of Cubans eluded their delegation when the last members of the group flew out of Toronto yesterday morning, and they would be seeking political asylum.

"The official amount is now 23, but we hope in the next day more people can defect to Canada," Mr. Sambra said. "Maybe tomorrow I can tell you other amounts."

Central American canonized by pope

GUATEMALA CITY A weary Pope John Paul II canonized Central America's first saint yesterday from a flower-covered stage ringed by spectacular volcanos, urging hundreds of thousands of cheering faithful to follow the example of love and charity set by the 17th-century missionary.

The pope, on his third trip to Guatemala, pronounced Pedro de San Jose Betancur a saint. At least 350,000 jubilant Roman Catholics packed a racetrack for the Mass, waving flags and singing hymns in the shadow of the Pacaya Volcano.

Sudan-backed troops kill foreign aid worker

NAIROBI, Kenya Sudanese government-backed forces killed a foreign aid worker and abducted three others in an oil-rich area of Sudan, a U.N. official said yesterday.

Word of the abductions and killing came just one week after a breakthrough in peace talks to end the African country's 19-year civil war. The rebels took up arms against the government in 1983 and are seeking autonomy for the largely animist and Christian south.

The U.N. official said that government forces had overrun Tiam, a town 435 miles southeast of Khartoum that is held by rebels of the Sudan People's Liberation Army.

Egypt convicts men in Muslim Brotherhood

HAEKSTEP, Egypt A military court convicted 16 members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group yesterday, mostly academics and professionals, on charges of conspiring against the government. The men were sentenced to up to five years in prison.

The convictions, part of a crackdown on Islamic militants, were derided by the defendants and their lawyers as a politically motivated attempt to reassure Washington that Egypt is battling extremism in the wake of September 11.

Leaders of the 74-year-old group say they renounced violence decades ago and strive to use democratic means to transform Egypt into a Muslim state.

French, German leaders warn Iraq on inspectors

SCHWERIN, Germany The French president yesterday warned Iraq to "very, very quickly" agree to the return of U.N. weapons inspectors as he and the German leader emerged from a summit meeting. They also insisted that an attack against Baghdad would require U.N. approval.

President Jacques Chirac and Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder reaffirmed their long-standing positions as speculation builds that President Bush will order a military offensive to oust Saddam Hussein. Washington accuses the Iraqi leader of secretly developing biological and nuclear weapons.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide