Ahad, 22 Disember 2013

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The Star Online: World Updates

China wants more party bosses reprimanded for ignoring graft

Posted: 22 Dec 2013 09:40 PM PST

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's ruling Communist Party would like to see more party bosses held accountable for allowing corruption to happen on their watch, something that rarely happens now, a senior official told a newspaper on Monday.

The Central Commission for Discipline and Inspection, the party's anti-graft watchdog, said in November it would target all senior officials as part of reforms to deepen its war on pervasive corruption.

President Xi Jinping has pursued an aggressive drive against corruption since coming to power, vowing to pursue high-flying "tigers" as well as lowly "flies", and warning that the problem is so serious it could threaten the party's power.

In an interview with the party's official People's Daily newspaper, Li Xueqin, head of the anti-graft watchdog's research division, said that the party still had a long way to go to hold officials accountable for ignoring corruption.

"We often hear that such-and-such a government leader has been held responsible and investigated for large safety incidents," Li said, referring to officials being reprimanded for mine disasters or transport crashes which happen because rules have been ignored by underlings.

"But rarely do we hear about a local party boss or discipline inspection boss being investigated and held responsible for not effectively enforcing party conduct and clean government (rules)," he added.

"This situation has to change," Li said. "If we discover the leadership or leading officials neglecting their duties on building up party conduct and clean government, we will trace it back to whoever is responsible, and certainly will not let them muddle through as a group."

Regional governments and other departments will have lists drawn up clearly outlining who is responsible for what, he said, as the government targets an old problem of its orders being largely ignored at the local level.

"At the end of the day, finding out who to blame is crucial for building up party conduct and clean government. If this does not happen, then the concept of responsibility means nothing," Li said.

Xi has not only targeted corrupt practices like bribe taking, but also extravagance and waste, as he seeks to assuage public anger over perceived corruption in the civil service and Communist Party offices.

While many of those caught up in the anti-graft sweep have been relatively junior, Xi has begun to take on more significant figures.

Last week, the party announced that a deputy minister in the powerful Ministry of Public Security was being investigated for "suspected serious law and discipline violations", which normally means corruption.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Sally Huang; Editing by Robert Birsel)

Bomb explodes on Israeli bus, no one hurt - police

Posted: 22 Dec 2013 04:41 PM PST

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - A bomb that Israeli authorities suspect was planted by Palestinian militants exploded in a bus near Tel Aviv on Sunday after passengers were evacuated, and police said no one was hurt.

No group claimed responsibility for the bombing. But Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for the Islamist militant group Hamas, said in a statement the blast was a "heroic action" in response to what he termed the "continued crimes" of Israel's occupation of land Palestinians seek for a state.

Photographs from the scene, in the Tel Aviv suburb of Bat Yam, showed the blast blew out the vehicle's windows.

"There were about 12 passengers on the bus. The driver stopped immediately when he was alerted to a suspicious object. It was a bag on the back bench, and he immediately ordered everyone off," Eitan Fixman, a spokesman for the Dan bus company, was quoted as saying on the YNet news site.

"We confirm the explosion on the bus today was a terror attack, based on assessments and evidence gathered at the scene," said Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, referring to suspected Palestinian militants.

Police had set up roadblocks at entrances to the occupied West Bank and were searching cars for the perpetrators.

It was the first such incident since Israeli-Palestinian peace talks - which have shown few signs of progress - resumed in July.

"We strongly condemn the bombing of a bus near Tel Aviv today. Our thoughts are with those affected and with the Israeli people at this time," U.S. State Department spokesperson, Jen Psaki, said in a statement on Sunday.

"Violent acts targeting civilians are deplorable. We reaffirm our unshakable bond with Israel and our solidarity with the Israeli people."

Violence in the West Bank has increased in recent months, and at least 19 Palestinians and four Israelis have been killed in the occupied territory since the negotiations got under way after a three-year break.

Rosenfeld said one of its bomb experts was examining the explosive "from a distance" when the bag blew up. He was taken to hospital for observation but was not listed as injured.

One of the passengers on the bus had alerted others to the bag, prompting them to leave the bus before the explosion, he said.

Israeli media reports said one person was slightly hurt.

The last time a bomb exploded on an Israeli bus was in November 2012, when 15 people were wounded near the Defence Ministry compound in Tel Aviv. An Israeli Arab pleaded guilty earlier this month to planting the bomb and said it was for political reasons.

(Writing by Jeffrey Heller; Additional reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza and; Ori Lewis and Allyn Fisher-Ilan in Jerusalem; Editing by Andrew Roche and Sonya Hepinstall)

U.S. will seek triggers to reimpose sanctions on Iran - Rice

Posted: 22 Dec 2013 04:40 PM PST

HONOLULU (Reuters) - The United States and its allies will have ways to reimpose sanctions on Iran if the Islamic Republic is caught making bombs after striking a deal to freeze its nuclear program, national security adviser Susan Rice said on Sunday.

In an interview on the CBS news program "60 Minutes," Rice rejected the idea that, once relaxed, the economic sanctions on Tehran would be hard to reinstate.

Any United Nations Security Council resolution that enshrines a final nuclear deal with Iran - not the interim six-month deal signed in Geneva in November - could have triggers to automatically reimpose sanctions on Iran if they violate the deal, she said.

"We will not construct a deal or accept a deal in which we cannot verify exactly what they are doing," Rice said. "And if they're caught, we will ensure that the pressure is reimposed on them."

A mechanism for such "automatic triggers" has not been finalized, Rice said. Any deal beyond the current arrangement is still months away.

"We haven't designed that resolution yet. But this is something that's quite doable," Rice said. The United States does not want Iran to be "in a position to race towards a bomb undetected."

Rice said it was still unclear if Iran was hurting enough from existing sanctions on its oil exports and other industries to give up its nuclear ambitions in a "verifiable way."

"We don't know. But the other half of the answer is we have every interest in testing that proposition," she said.

Under November's interim agreement, Iran agreed to curb its nuclear program for six months in exchange for limited relief from sanctions.

The Obama administration has clashed with Congress over the sanctions issue; many lawmakers want to impose tougher sanctions on Iran.

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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