- S. Korea sends back remains of Chinese Korean War dead
- Australia first banknote fetches RM1m
- Little India riot inquiry: Alcohol a factor in mayhem
Posted: 27 Mar 2014 06:22 PM PDT
SEOUL, March 28, 2014 (AFP) - South Korea flew the remains of 437 Chinese soldiers killed during the 1950-53 Korean War back to China on Friday for final burial in their homeland.
The small coffins, draped in the Chinese flag, were carried by Chinese soldiers and loaded on a plane at Incheon airport, to be flown to the northeastern city of Shenyang where China has a state cemetery for its war dead.
"This is a new milestone in bilateral relations and is expected to serve as a good example of promoting peace in Northeast Asia," said defence ministry spokesman Kim Min-Seok.
South Korean President Park Geun-Hye had offered to return the bodies as a goodwill gesture during her visit to Beijing in June last year.
China fought alongside North Korea in the 1950-53 conflict - its dramatic and crucial intervention coming after US-led forces had pushed the North Korean army into the far north of the peninsula.
Casualty figures remain disputed but Western estimates commonly cite a figure of 400,000 Chinese deaths, while Chinese sources mention a toll of about 180,000.
The bodies were initially buried in small plots scattered around the country.
In 1996, Seoul designated a special cemetery plot in Paju, just south of the heavily-fortified border with North Korea, where all the remains of Chinese and North Korean soldiers still on South Korean soil could be buried together.
Work on exhuming the Chinese remains at Paju for repatriation began back in December.
While some graves are named, most are identified only by nationality.
More than 700 North Korean soldiers are also interred at the cemetery. But the North has ignored the South's offer to return the bodies despite sporadic talks on the issue.
The bodies of more than two dozen North Korean commandos killed in a daring but unsuccessful 1968 attack on the presidential palace in Seoul are buried there.
Also there is the body of a North Korean agent responsible for the 1987 bombing of a South Korean airliner that killed 115 people.
Posted: 27 Mar 2014 09:00 AM PDT
SYDNEY: The only surviving example of Australia's first official banknote exceeded expectations when it was auctioned for A$334,000 (RM1mil), officials said.
The 10 shilling note – one of 100 issued in 1817 by the Bank of New South Wales (now called Westpac) on the day it opened – attracted bids from around the world, said Jim Noble of Noble Numismatics, which handled the sale.
"It's a record for a colonial banknote," he said yesterday.
"It will stay in Australia (but) I've no idea what the gentleman who bought it plans to do, he's a high up executive in a big organisation.
"It would be exciting to see it on public display, it's a great thing."
The auction price easily exceeded its A$250,000 (RM760,000) estimate, with Noble attributing the interest to its unique historical value.
"It's the only one of its kind, even Westpac does not have one."
Noble said the note was discovered in a private collection in Scotland in 2005, with Scots-born former New South Wales governor Lachlan Macquarie or one of his staff thought to have taken it there.
It was later bought by a private collector who sold it at Wednesday night's auction. — AFP
Posted: 27 Mar 2014 09:00 AM PDT
WHILE the Little India riot was caused by a confluence of factors, alcohol played a major role in the mayhem on Dec 8 last year, the final witness of the public hearing into the mayhem told the Committee of Inquiry (COI).
Lead investigator Adam Fashe Huddin said that evidence presented by different groups throughout the five-week inquiry – including the huge demand for alcohol before the riot, and that rioters were losing their balance and had smelt of alcohol – meant intoxication played a large role in the violence that night.
"It is apparent that beer bottles were the most common projectiles that night – alcohol bottles were literally raining down on police during a large part of the incident," said Adam, who is from the Central Narcotics Bureau.
"The investigations team concludes that alcohol was a major contributory factor to how the riot unfolded."
On the other hand, there was no evidence that the actions of the rioters arose from widespread abuse of foreign workers here or employment-related problems, said the senior narcotics officer.
None of the foreign workers who took the stand said their salary was delayed, and that the 20 men interviewed by the committee who were repatriated for their involvement in the riot said they were happy working here, and had "no deep-seated unhappiness".
None of the men charged with being involved in the riot said late salary was to blame, he added.
The observations that Adam placed before the committee included extending the Little India Bus Services to Sunday mornings and Saturdays, so as to spread the load of workers who visit the Indian enclave on the weekend, and extra police manpower to deal with potential hotspots like Geylang.
There should also be more sensitivity training for bus drivers and timekeepers plying the Little India route, while more focus has to be given to educating foreign workers here on local norms and the heavy penalties that accompany anti-social behaviour like urinating and vomiting. — The Straits Times/ Asia News Network
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