Rabu, 5 Mac 2014

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The Star Online: Metro: Sunday Metro

Singapore police probe 'unnatural' death of American CEO of bitcoin trader

Posted: 05 Mar 2014 07:55 PM PST

SINGAPORE: Singapore police are investigating what they have called the "unnatural" death of a 28-year-old American woman who ran a small exchange that traded virtual currencies, including bitcoins, from the Asian city state.

Autumn Radtke, chief executive of First Meta Pte Ltd, was found dead at her Singapore home on Feb 26.

"The police are investigating the unnatural death," a police spokesman said late on Wednesday when asked about media reports Radtke had been found dead last week. He gave no more details.

First Meta said in a statement on its website that its team was shocked and saddened by the tragic loss of its CEO.

"Our deepest condolences go out to her family, friends and loved ones. Autumn was an inspiration to all of us and she will be sorely missed."

Before heading up First Meta in 2012, Radtke had business development roles at tech start-ups Xfire and Geodelic Systems, according to information on her LinkedIn profile.

First Meta runs an exchange for virtual currencies and assets. It initially functioned as an online trade platform for the currency used in online world Second Life, and then expanded to other games. Last year it allowed users to sell bitcoins for dollars. That feature is not currently available. -Reuters

Corby sister says sorry to Indonesia for interview

Posted: 05 Mar 2014 06:13 PM PST

SYDNEY: The sister of Australian drug mule Schapelle Corby on Thursday apologised to Indonesia "from the bottom of my heart" for an interview that sparked calls for her sibling to be thrown back in jail.

Australia's Channel Seven aired a documentary last Sunday in which Mercedes Corby suggested her sister had been set up, claiming the drugs she was caught with "could have been from Indonesia".

It included footage of Schapelle Corby as she was whisked from jail in a van after her release on parole last month, and showed candid video of the first moments back with her family.

Schapelle Corby

The documentary angered Indonesian authorities, who suggested Corby was seeking to profit from her crime. There has been unconfirmed speculation of a lucrative deal with Channel Seven, which the broadcaster has denied.

Indonesian Justice Minister Amir Syamsuddin, under significant domestic pressure, warned of a "big possibility" that Corby's parole could be revoked.

"From the bottom of my heart I am very sorry to the people of Indonesia if my interview on Australian TV caused unease," Mercedes Corby said in statement sent to News Corporation.

"I apologise if my words were disrespectful to Indonesia. I did not intend any disrespect.

"Our family are happy and grateful that Schapelle is free on parole. We thank the Indonesian government," she added.

Corby was arrested in 2004 at Bali's main airport with 4.1 kilograms (nine pounds) of marijuana in her surf gear, and subsequently jailed

She has always proclaimed her innocence. The saga has riveted Australians and generated significant sympathy in her home country, where her plight has been given blanket coverage.

When an Indonesian minister visited to warn that her parole was in peril on Tuesday, he said Corby brandished a knife and threatened to kill herself, although her family have since denied it was a serious suicide bid.

Corby was diagnosed with depression and psychosis during her time in prison, and her brother-in-law Wayan Widyartha told Australian media that she was stressed and struggling mentally.

"She is stressed now as she can't go out because many journalists are pursuing her," he was quoted as saying by the Sydney Daily Telegraph.

"I hope all media can please let us get comfortable... so that the parole can be carried out successfully until 2017."

Corby was jailed for 20 years, but the end of her sentence was brought forward to 2016 for good behaviour. She must remain in Indonesia until 2017 as a parole condition. -AFP

Australian missionary tells of daily North Korea interrogations

Posted: 05 Mar 2014 06:10 PM PST

SYDNEY: An Australian missionary deported from North Korea has told of the gruelling interrogations he faced during his 13-day ordeal in the Stalinist state and the stress of being under constant watch.

John Short, 75, flew out of Pyongyang on Monday to Beijing after he signed a detailed "confession" and apology after his arrest for distributing religious material in the North Korean capital.

"There were two-hour sessions each morning, which were repeated again in the afternoons," Short said of the questioning which he said was part of a "long and gruelling investigation" into him by authorities.

Short, originally from Australia but who has lived in Hong Kong for decades, said the confinement he faced after his February 18 detention was particularly difficult, given his habit of long daily walks.

"This I found to be most painful physically as an active senior person," he said in a statement supplied to Australian Associated Press.

Short's release came as North Korea test-fired half a dozen short-range missiles into the sea over the past week, in a sign of tensions on the Korean peninsula fuelled by ongoing South Korea-US joint military drills.

The missionary, who was picked up after leaving "Bible tracts" in a Buddhist temple in Pyongyang during a tour, said he insisted to his interrogators that he was not a spy and did not wish hostilities on North Korea.

The non-denominational Christian Evangelist said he was told that distributing religious pamphlets was a violation of local laws and that he faced up to 15 years in prison.

In his confession to North Korean authorities, Short said he realised that "my actions are an indelible hostile act against the independent right and laws of the (North)" and requested forgiveness.

In his statement released late Wednesday, he said: "I confessed that I had knowingly broken the law in what I believed is my God-directed duty and as I do in every place and country I visit."

Although freedom of worship is enshrined in North Korea's constitution, it does not exist in practice and religious activity is severely restricted to officially recognised groups linked to the government.

A UN-mandated commission recently published a damning report detailing horrific human rights abuses in North Korea and concluding that they could comprise crimes against humanity. -AFP

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