- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Twitter blocked; dissidents held

BEIJING | Ahead of the 20th anniversary of the bloody crackdown on Tiananmen Square this week, Chinese authorities have rounded up dissidents and shipped them out of town. Now, they’ve even shut down Twitter.

Along with their usual methods of muzzling dissent, the authorities extended their efforts Tuesday to silence social networking sites that might foster discussion of any commemoration of the events of June 3-4, 1989. China has the world’s largest online population.

Government Internet monitors have shut down message boards on more than 6,000 Web sites affiliated with colleges and universities, apparently to head off any talk about the 1989 events, according to the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy.

Numerous blogs maintained by edgy government critics such as avant-garde artist Ai Weiwei have been blocked and the text-messaging service Twitter and photo-sharing site Flickr could not be accessed within China on Tuesday. Video-sharing site YouTube has been blocked within China since March.


Charles to attend D-Day ceremony

LONDON | Prince Charles will attend this week’s 65th anniversary commemoration of the D-Day landings, royal officials said Tuesday, in an attempt to defuse a cross-Channel spat over France’s purported failure to invite his mother, Queen Elizabeth II.

Charles’ office announced he would attend, alongside President Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, after days of outrage by British veterans and commentators over the omission of the queen, who is Britain’s head of state and supreme commander of its armed forces.

The British government said Mr. Sarkozy had invited Prime Minister Gordon Brown personally, and Buckingham Palace said that until Mr. Sarkozy contacted Charles through the French Embassy in London, no member of the royal family had received an invitation to the ceremony.


Minister to quit over expenses

LONDON | Jacqui Smith, Britain’s minister for security and police, plans to resign, a source close to her said Tuesday, the highest profile casualty of an expenses scandal that has swept through Parliament and could yet claim more big names.

Britons are furious that many members of Parliament have milked the allowances system, claiming from taxpayers the cost of everything from duck houses to cleaning a moat at a time when many voters are struggling in a recession.

Mrs. Smith’s reputation suffered in March when a leaked copy of her parliamentary expenses claims showed she had charged taxpayers for her husband’s rental of two pornographic movies.


British couple jailed for adultery

DUBAI| A British couple were convicted of adultery in Dubai and given two months in jail Tuesday, several months after a separate British couple were sentenced to prison for having sex on a beach in this glitzy Persian Gulf sheikdom.

Sally Antia and Mark Hawkins, both in their 40s, were arrested May 2 after leaving a Dubai luxury hotel in the early morning hours. Mrs. Antia’s husband, Vince, alerted the police to his wife’s infidelity.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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