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to North Korea
Several thousand Bangladeshi garment
workers have lost their jobs after their
factory was discovered with serious
safety problems and shut down.
e factory was among hundreds,
where workers stitch clothes for western
retailers, targeted by safety experts for
inspection in the wake of Rana Plaza
building collapse last year that killed
e team of experts ordered the
evacuation of six oors of two adjoining
buildings housing clothing rms Softex
and Fame Knitting after the inspection
last week which discovered serious
Softex, a sweater maker and a supplier
to French retailer Auchan, shut down
immediately, laying o all 3500
workers, saying "it was risky to continue
"I know what has happened to the
workers is unfair. But the inspectors told
me that the building has serious structural
problems and asked us to evacuate the
oors," Softex chief executive o cer
Rezwan Seilm said overnight.
Seilm said he was "desperately trying"
to pay three months worth of wages to
the workers from the factory in Mirpur
in the northern suburb of Dhaka.
Fame, employing about 2500 workers,
also closed for a few days last week after
engineers involved in the inspection
requested reduced weight on some of the
oors, an o cial said.
Unions criticised Softex and Fame
for failing to compensate the workers,
but a trade group representing garment
factories said retailers must shoulder
some of the costs.
Bangladesh is the world's second
biggest clothing manufacturer and the
$US22 billion ($25.96 billion) sector is
the mainstay of the impoverished south
Asian nation's economy. --- AFP
e desperate search for a Malaysian
airliner that has vanished with 239
people aboard has been expanded
with frustrations mounting over the
failure to nd any trace of the plane.
e initial zone spread over a
92km radius around the point where
Malaysia Airlines ight MH370
disappeared over the South China
Sea in the early hours of Saturday
morning, on the way from Kuala
Lumpur to Beijing.
Malaysian authorities announced
they were doubling the size of the
search area to 160km.
" e area of search has been
expanded in the South China Sea,"
Civil Aviation Department chief
Azharuddin Abdul Rahman told
He also con rmed the area now
covers land on the Malaysian
peninsula itself, the waters o its west
coast and an area to the north of the
Indonesian island of Sumatra.
e vast stretch under consideration
re ects authorities' ba ement over
the disappearance of the aircraft, with
40 ships and more than 30 planes
nding no sign of it.
Emotions were running high as
Beijing blamed Kuala Lumpur
for a lack of information, while
tearful relatives of the 153 Chinese
passengers aboard voiced frustration
with all sides of the response e ort.
China said Malaysia needed to
"step up" its e orts after authorities
admitted they were mysti ed.
" e Malaysian side cannot shirk
its responsibilities," the Global
Times newspaper, which is close to
the ruling Communist Party, wrote
in a scathing editorial. " e initial
response from Malaysia was not swift
A day of con icting information
deepened the anguish of relatives,
with tests on oil slicks in the South
China Sea showing they were not
from the Boeing 777 and reports
of possible debris from the ight
proving to be false alarms.
Hong Kong's Civil Aviation
Department said that a pilot on a
ight from the southern Chinese
city to Kuala Lumpur had reported
seeing "large debris" while ying
over Vietnamese waters in the latest
sighting to be investigated.
Malaysia has launched a terror probe
after at least two of the passengers
were found to have travelled on
e United States has sent an FBI
team to help investigate, but US
o cials stressed there was as yet no
evidence of terrorism. Overnight,
the US Navy sent a second ship to
the South China Sea to help in the
Malaysia's police chief said one of
the passengers had been identi ed,
but gave no further details.
Azharuddin, the head of the Civil
Aviation Department, said the two
men were not of Asian appearance,
contrary to previous reports.
But he had few answers to the
burning questions over what has
happened to the jet.
Asked whether it was possible
the plane had been hijacked or
disintegrated mid-air, he said nothing
could be ruled out.
"We are looking at every aspect of
what could have happened," he said.
" is unprecedented missing
aircraft mystery --- it is mystifying
and we are increasing our e orts to
do what we have to do."
e plane, captained by a veteran
pilot, had relayed no indications of
distress, and weather at the time was
said to be good.
An Iranian businessman known
only as "Mr Ali" is reported to
have booked the tickets for the two
passengers using stolen passports on
Authorities say the men who
boarded the Malaysia Airlines ight
were said to have not been of "Asian
appearance", contradicting earlier
e oil slicks found o the coast of
Malaysia during the search for Flight
MH370 were not caused by the
missing airliner, authorities have said.
Laboratory analysis on the oil,
which was rst spotted on Saturday
night, found that it had nothing
to do with the Malaysia Airlines
jet that disappeared almost three
days ago, Malaysian o cials have
Earlier the crew from a Vietnamese
jet reported seeing a " possible life
raft" oating in the sea around 250
miles o the country's southern coast,
only for search and rescue helicopters
to later nd it was no more than "a
moss-covered cap of cable reel".
Speaking at a press conference in
Kuala Lumpur this morning, the
director-general of Malaysia's Civil
Aviation body, Azharuddin Abdul
Rahman, said o cials were still
struggling with an " unprecedented
"Unfortunately we have not found
anything that appears to be objects
from the aircraft,let alone the aircraft,"
he said. "As far as we are concerned,
we have to nd the aircraft, we have to
nd a piece of the aircraft if possible."
Search for 777 widens London
Shakespeare's Globe eatre in London
will take a production of Hamlet to
North Korea next year as part of a vast
e Globe's actors will perform the
play in the secretive State in September
2015 as part of its Globe to Globe tour
marking the 450th anniversary of the
English playwright's birth.
e exact tour dates are yet to be
e plot of Hamlet revolves around
family feuds and Hamlet's murder of his
In North Korea, leader Kim Jong-Un's
regime ordered the execution of his uncle
Jang Song- aek in December last year.
Jang, once the country's uno cial
No 2 and Kim's political mentor, was put
to death on December 12 on an array
of charges including corruption and
plotting to overthrow the State.
e theatre has pledged to send a
"small company of actors" to perform
Hamlet in every country in the world,
beginning the tour on April 23 this year,
"We're taking the play to North Korea
as part of a two-year tour to every
country in the world," a spokeswoman
said. --- AFP
Prince Harry and his long-term
girlfriend Cressida Bonas have
nally made their romance o cial
with two very public outings in
three days after spending months
trying to avoid being pictured
Bonas joined the 29-year-old
prince at a public engagement
for the rst time on Friday, and
on Sunday the pair were pictured
watching England's victory over
Wales at a Six Nations rugby
union match at Twickenham.
Public appearances by the royals
are carefully choreographed and
this weekend's activities suggest
the relationship between Harry
and Bonas, 25, is now o cial.
Harry, the younger son of
heir-to-the throne Prince
Charles and the late Princess
Diana, recently quit ying
army helicopters for a desk job
military events in London.
Speculation is mounting that
he is ready to settle down like his
brother William, the second-in-
line to the throne who married
Kate Middleton in 2011 and had
his rst child, Prince George, last
e media rst reported Harry's
relationship with Bonas in
July 2012, although the couple
have taken pains not to be
photographed together, arriving
and leaving events at di erent
On Friday, the blonde dance
graduate was not part of Harry's
o cial entourage at a youth
empowerment day but they sat
together after he made a speech
and were later photographed
A report in the Daily Mail's
diary column overnight said that
Harry is planning to invite his
girlfriend on holiday with the
royals this summer.
His grandmother Queen
Elizabeth II takes her annual
holiday at her Balmoral estate
in Scotland and an invitation to
join the family there would be the
ultimate stamp of approval.
Bonas, who was reportedly
introduced to Harry by her friend
and his cousin, Princess Eugenie,
comes from a Bohemian but
appropriately blue-blooded family.
Her mother is Lady Mary-
Gaye Curzon, a darling of the
London social scene during the
1960s whose late father, Richard
Curzon, was an earl who counted
King Edward VII among his
godparents, according to the
Curzon was married four times
and had Bonas with her third
husband, entrepreneur Je rey
Bonas, who is currently chairman
of a haberdashery company,
MacCulloch and Wallis.
Details are scarce about Bonas
herself but she reportedly studied
dance at the University of Leeds
in northern England and now has
a job in marketing in London.
Prince Harry and girlfriend go public
Prince Harry and Cressida Bonas attend England's Six Nations international rugby union match
against Wales at Twickenham in London.
An emotional Oscar Pistorius
became physically sick in court as
he listened to harrowing testimony
about the autopsy of his girlfriend
Reeva Steenkamp, whom he is
accused of murdering.
Sitting in the dock, the visibly
shaken Olympian retched and heaved
into a blue bucket as a pathologist
gave a detailed post-mortem account
of the bullet wounds Pistorius admits
University of Pretoria pathologist
Gert Saayman said overnight the
double-amputee sprinter shot
Steenkamp with Black Talon hollow-
point bullets, which mushroom open
on contact to cause maximum tissue
Pistorius, 27, says he red four
shots at Steenkamp on February 14,
2013 through a locked toilet door,
believing her to be an intruder. He
denies intentionally killing her.
Saayman --- whose testimony the
media has been banned from directly
reporting --- told the court how
Steenkamp was struck four times
with three bullets from Pistorius's
Steenkamp was hit once in the top
right of her head, once in the right
elbow and once in the right hip. She
was also struck in the webbing of her
e 29-year-old model and law
graduate also sustained injuries
from bone fragments, bullet
fragments and fragments of the
e pathologist said Steenkamp
could have died from either of the
wounds to her arm and hip.
After being shot in the head, she
would not have been able to breathe
more than a few times and would
likely have fallen unconscious,
Pistorius broke down as he listened
to the nature of his girlfriend's
injuries, retching loudly and his
shoulders visibly shaking. e court
brie y adjourned to allow the athlete
"Mr Roux, can you just attend
to the accused? Not sure what's
happening," Judge okozile Masipa
said, addressing Pistorius's lawyer.
In the public gallery Pistorius's
aunt Lois took o her glasses, closing
her eyes for an extended period. His
coach Ampie Louw sat still staring at
Saayman, as the sound of vomiting
When the court session nished
for the day, Pistorius remained bent
over in the dock. His older brother
Carl and younger sister Aimee
comforted him as he tried to regain
Some 10 minutes later, the runner's
sister took him by the arm and led
him out of the courtroom.
Saayman also revealed that
Steenkamp probably ate two
hours before her death, seemingly
contradicting Pistorius's account that
the two went to bed at 10pm.
Judge Masipa earlier upheld a
request from the prosecution, defence
and the witness not to allow live
audio broadcast of the post-mortem
testimony because of its graphic
" ere shall be no live broadcast of
the evidence of Professor Saayman,"
Masipa ruled. " at applies to
Blog posts were also banned.
Professor Saayman earlier asked
that his testimony not be broadcast
for ethical reasons.
He said the graphic nature of
the autopsy report may infringe
on Steenkamp's dignity and harm
unsuspecting members of the public
who saw or heard the testimony.
"I think that it goes against the
good morals of society for us to make
information of this nature available
in a manner that vulnerable or
unsuspecting people in society may
be exposed," Saayman told the court.
Pistorius sick during graphic testimony
With no one else on the ballot, North
Korea's supreme leader Kim Jong Un
was not only elected to the country's
highest legislative body, he won with
the unanimous approval of his district,
which had 100% turnout.
North Koreans went to the polls to
approve the new roster of deputies for
the Supreme People's Assembly, the
country's legislature. e vote, more
a political ritual than an election by
Western standards, is generally held once
every ve years.
ough results for the other seats in the
assembly had not yet been announced,
North Korea's State media quickly
reported Kim had won in his district,
located on the symbolic Mt Paekdu,
without a single dissenting ballot. In the
previous elections, 687 deputies were
is is the rst time the election has
been held since Kim inherited power
after the death of his father, Kim Jong
Il, in 2011.
Voters in the election have no choice
who to vote for, there is only one
candidate's name on the ballot for each
district. Instead, they have the choice of
voting yes or no, and according to o cial
accounts all choose yes. --- AP
Snowden says he has
no regrets over his leaks
about mass surveillance
programmes, saying they
sparked a needed public
debate on spying and data
Snowden, who spoke via video link from
Russia to the SXSW festival in Austin,
Texas, said he revealed the programmes
of the United States National Security
Agency and other such services to foster
"a better civic understanding" about
what had been secret programmes.
He said his decision to leak documents
to journalists "wasn't so I could single
handedly change the government; what
I wanted to do was inform the public so
they could provide their consent to what
we should do".
Snowden, a former NSA contractor
who has been in hiding in Russia and has
been charged in the US with espionage,
maintained that "every society in the
world has bene ted" from the debate on
"Regardless of what happens to me,
this is something we have a right to
know," he said on the link with members
of the American Civil Liberties Union,
who noted that the hook-up was routed
through seven proxy servers to keep his
Snowden, who appeared against a
backdrop of a giant copy of the US
constitution, said the NSA programmes
have fundamentally altered the rights
outlined in the charter.
" e interpretation of the constitution
has been changed from 'no
unreasonable searches and
seizures,' to 'any seizure is
ne, just don't search it',"
Snowden said he chose
to speak to SXSW because
he believes it is important
to encourage technology
changes to stem mass surveillance.
" e people who are in the room in
Austin right now, they are the folks who
can really x things through technical
standards," he said.
Snowden said more companies should
adopt robust encryption that is built into
communications without users having to
use complex technical tools.
He maintained that if encryption is too
complex, "people aren't going to use it;
it has to happen automatically, it has to
If on-line communications are fully
encrypted at all stages, Snowden said,
bulk data collection would become too
di cult for intelligence agencies.
He also said the NSA and other
agencies have devoted too many
resources to this type of bulk collection
and not enough to traditional methods
to catch criminals and terrorists.
"We've had tremendous intelligence
failures because we are monitoring
everybody's communications, instead of
suspects," he said.
He cited the Boston marathon
bombings as an example, saying "if
we hadn't spent so much on mass
sur veillance, if we followed traditional
models, we might have caught" the
suspects. --- AFP
NSA leaks stoked
necessary debate: Snowden
A Nor wegian woman has pleaded not
guilty to murdering her 22-month-old
daughter at the opening of a trial where
she is accused of drowning the child
while following live on-line instructions.
e woman's British lover, accused of
giving instructions for the murder via an
on-line video service, also pleaded his
innocence in the Oslo District Court
Yasmin Chaudhry, 28, and Ammaz
Omer Qureshi, 35, are accused of
drowning the woman's daughter from
another relationship by plunging her
head into a bucket of water in October
e murder took place, according
to investigators, after the toddler
interrupted the couple during an on-line
video chat via MSN in the early hours of
e man, who was in London at
the time, allegedly told the woman
to "discipline" the child and issued
instructions that led to Chaudhry
plunging the child's head under water
until she lost conciousness.
Chaudry then called emergency
ser vices and reported the incident as an
accident. e child died in hospital the
Overnight, she pleaded not guilty to
rst degree murder but admitted to
assaulting the child. Her lover denied
any involvement in the crime.
In addition to the murder, the duo are
accused of "regularly" torturing the girl
over a six-month period --- the mother
allegedly received on-line instructions
from Qureshi who also witnessed some
of the abuse via the internet.
During the assault the child was forced
to swallow a spoon of chili powder, was
gagged with adhesive tape, given cold
showers and was slapped around the
If found guilty of murder the couple
face a 21-year jail sentence. Child abuse
carries a six-year sentence. --- AFP
Woman accused of drowning
her daughter with on-line help
e former deputy
House of Commons
sexually abused young
men in parliament and
at a Conservative party
conference, a court heard
Nigel Evans, 56, had
the "ability to make or
break" the careers of those
who wished to work in
Westminster and he used
his "powerful" in uence to
assault them, a jury heard.
Evans denies nine charges dating from
2002 to 2013, involving seven men,
including two of indecent assault, six of
sexual assault and one of rape.
He was often drunk when he acted,
Preston Crown Court in north-west
England was told.
Prosecutor Mark Heywood said Evans
assaulted the men despite a series of
warnings from his colleagues to stop.
" is behaviour did not happen once
but has been repeated over time and
despite repeated warnings given to him
by others," Heywood said.
"It has also escalated in seriousness,
no doubt because he believed that his
position made it less than likely that
someone would complain.
" e prosecution alleges that he, on
separate occasions over many years, has
sexually assaulted young men, both in
public situations and in private.
"By the last of these, in early 2013, he
raped one of the young men."
Evans was forced to resign
as Deputy Speaker of the
House of Commons, the
lower house of parliament,
in September after he was
One assault allegedly
took place at a bar during
the Conser vative Party
conference in Blackpool in
Evans, who was said to
be heavily drunk, stood
next to the complainant
and "without warning or
any kind of invitation" he put his right
hand down the young man's trousers, the
e complainant was aware that
journalists were in the bar and "discreetly
removed"Evans's hand, but was "annoyed
and embarrassed", the court heard.
Another alleged victim said he had
wanted Evans to resign after he was
assaulted at the MP's home.
Meetings were held with senior
o cials of the Conservative Party and
Evans was warned about his conduct as
a general election was taking place the
following year, in 2010.
Yet, the prosecution alleges, he went on
to commit further indecent assaults and
allegedly raped a man last year, after the
Conservatives had come to power in a
"So the prosecution allege, he not
only abused young men, in some cases
seriously, but he abused positions he
held," Heywood said.
e trial continues. --- AFP
Court told ex-Deputy Speaker
sexually abused young men
Chinese courts acquitted a total of 825
people out of almost 1.16 million verdicts
last year, the Supreme People's Court says
--- a conviction rate of 99.93%.
In a report to the annual session of the
Communist Party-controlled National
People's Congress, Zhou Qiang, head of
the Supreme People's Court, said that
Chinese courts convicted 1.158 million
people in 954,000 criminal cases heard.
ey exonerated only 825 people, he
said in the report, in accordance with
rules including "protecting human rights"
and "excluding illegal evidence".
Abuses are widespread in China's legal
system, where police routinely coerce
Rights groups say that Chinese courts
are politically controlled and their rulings
are often a ected by government agendas,
with activists who come to trial virtually
certain to be found guilty.
In a separate report to the NPC, Cao
Jianming, head of the Supreme People's
Procuratorate, said that prosecutors had
intervened 72,370 times over "illegal
investigation methods including excessive
use of coercive measures, obtaining
evidence via illegal means and obtaining
confessions through torture".
e number of times o cials stepped
in was up 27.3% year-on-year, he added.
China has 99.93% conviction rate
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