Khamis, 17 April 2014

The Star Online: World Updates

Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: World Updates

Captain of stricken Korean ferry may not have been on bridge - investigator

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 09:15 PM PDT

MOKPO/JINDO, South Korea (Reuters) - South Korea's coastguard denied that divers had entered a capsized ferry on Friday in a bid to locate any survivors from an accident that appears to have claimed the lives of hundreds of passengers, many of them schoolchildren.

YTN television, South Korea's main cable news station, had reported that eight divers were taking it in turns to search the vessel, but the coastguard said that divers had not yet been deployed inside the stricken vessel.

The coastguard also denied television reports that the ship had been fully submerged, over 48 hours after the accident.

Experts say it is now unlikely that any of the 268 missing passengers, many of them children from a school on the outskirts of the capital Seoul, will be found alive.

So far, 28 of the 475 passengers and crew on the Sewol ferry have been officially declared dead and 179 have been rescued.

Rescuers were pumping air into the dining hall of the vessel, where many of the passengers were expected to be.

An investigation into the sinking, South Korea's worst maritime accident in 21 years in terms of potential loss of life, has focused on the role of the 69-year old captain and the crew of the ship.

"He (the captain) may have been off the bridge.. And the person at the helm at the time was the third officer," Park Jae-eok, an official investigating the accident, told a news conference in Mokpo, a city close to the port where rescue operations are being conducted.

It is normal for junior officers to take the helm and the 400 km (300 mile) journey from the mainland port of Incheon to the resort island of Jeju was a regular trip in familiar waters.

The accident happened in calm, shallow waters and investigators have focused on the role of the crew as the vessel appeared to have a clean safety record.

Parents of the missing schoolchildren blamed the ship's captain for the tragedy after he and shipping company officials made emotional apologies for the loss of life.

Witnesses have said that the captain and some of the crew left the vessel while others instructed passengers to remain in place as it began to sink.

Theories about the cause of the accident swirled and investigators declined to comment on reports the vessel had turned before it listed to port and capsized.

Coastguard officials have said the investigation was focused on possible crew negligence, problems with cargo stowage and structural defects of the vessel, although the ship appears to have passed all of its safety and insurance checks.

The captain, Lee Joon-seok, faces criminal investigation, which is standard procedure in South Korea.

Both 69-year-old Lee and the company that owns the ship have apologised for the loss of life, although neither has admitted responsibility.

Relatives were in mourning overnight in a hospital in the city of Mokpo, close to the port city of Jindo, which is acting as a rescue centre. Some of them spoke bitterly of the captain.

"How could he tell those young kids to stay there and jump from the sinking ship himself?" said Ham Young-ho, grandfather of 17-year-old Lee Da-woon, one of the dead.

Lee has not made any public statement on whether or why he may have left the vessel before many of the passengers.

(This story has been corrected to show coastguard says ship not fully submerged)

(Writing by David Chance; Editing by James Pearson and Raju Gopalakrishnan)

China sentences activists for urging asset disclosure - lawyer

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 08:51 PM PDT

BEIJING (Reuters) - China sentenced four activists to jail for up to three-and-a-half years on Friday for urging officials to reveal their assets, a lawyer said, the latest convictions in a crackdown on dissent that has drawn international criticism.

The sentences mark China's latest rebuff of the West's condemnation of what it calls the suppression of free expression that some rights groups say is the worst in recent years.

Ding Jiaxi was sentenced to three-and-a-half years, Zhao Changqing got a two-and-a-half year sentence and Li Wei and Zhang Baocheng got two-year terms, the Haidian court in Beijing said on its microblog. They were charged with "gathering a crowd to disturb public order", which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

But Sui Muqing, a lawyer representing Ding, said the real reason for the convictions was that the activists had pressed for government officials to disclose their assets.

"It's nothing but an announcement to the world that we can't mention asset disclosure and that calling on officials to disclose their assets is a crime," Sui told Reuters by telephone.

Sui said Ding would appeal. On Thursday, court officials told Sui he was not allowed to represent Ding and attend the sentencing, which Sui said was illegal.

Court officials were not available for comment.

The Chinese leadership under President Xi Jinping has been pushing efforts against pervasive corruption, which Xi has warned could undermine Communist Party rule.

But at the same time, the government is wary of any challenge to its rule, which is how authorities apparently see calls from activists for officials to declare their wealth.

The convictions came a week after a court upheld a four-year jail sentence against prominent rights activist Xu Zhiyong, on the same charge of "gathering a crowd to disturb public order", sparking criticism from the United States, European Union and rights groups.


The government has waged a year-long drive against Xu's "New Citizens' Movement" of which the four activists sentenced on Friday were members. The group advocates working within the system for change, including urging officials to reveal assets.

Diplomats were shut out of Friday's sentencing, one said. Policemen surrounded the court and bundled about 20 group supporters into a van.

Raphael Droszewski, a first secretary at the European Union delegation to China, said the EU was concerned about Friday's sentencings and people were "being prosecuted in relation with their work for advocacy for the rule of law, social justice and fight against corruption".

"We ask for all people detained for expressing peaceful views to be released," he told Reuters by telephone.

Authorities have shown no sign of agreeing to demands for asset disclosures and at least 20 anti-graft activists have been detained or jailed.

Xi's administration has ratcheted up pressure on dissent, clamping down on critics on the Internet and tightening curbs on journalists.

On Monday, the Foreign Ministry told the United States to stop "gesticulating" in its criticism of China's treatment of dissidents.

Police accused the four activists of organising and carrying out "street political activities", from displaying banners to making speeches urging declaration of assets, according to a copy of Li's arrest notice.

Ding, a lawyer based in Beijing, was in charge of "overall coordination" while Li, who is unemployed, was responsible for collecting information and organising activists, the notice said.

Zhao, who has been jailed three times for pro-democracy activities, was said to have organised dinner gatherings where citizens discussed the disclosure campaign.

(Additional reporting by Joseph Campbell; Editing by Robert Birsel)

South Korea coastguard denies divers have entered capsized ship

Posted: 17 Apr 2014 08:50 PM PDT

JINDO, South Korea (Reuters) - South Korea's coastguard said on Friday divers have not yet entered the hull of the capsized ferry where more than 270 people, most of them school children on a field trip, are missing.

South Korea's YTN television earlier said divers had entered the hull and were searching the dining hall and cafeteria of the Sewol ferry where many of the passengers were believed to be at the time of Wednesday's accident.

(Reporting by Ju-min Park, writing by Jack Kim)


0 ulasan:

Catat Ulasan


The Star Online

Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved