Asia briefs : HK leader takes stand in court for first time

HK leader takes stand in court for first time

HONG KONG • Unpopular Hong Kong leader Leung Chun Ying gave evidence yesterday in an assault case against a legislator who threw a glass at him in Parliament, the first time a sitting Chief Executive has testified in court.

He was cross-examined by pro-democracy and anti-China lawmaker Raymond Wong, who is accused of common assault and was representing himself in a courtroom packed with supporters from both sides.

Wong has pleaded not guilty to the charge for an action which allegedly took place in July 2014 in the wake of a white (policy) paper from Beijing in which it asserted authority over Hong Kong. Wong questioned the validity of allowing Mr Leung's testimony, calling him "a liar and untrustworthy".

The dispute comes as Mr Leung battles widening political divisions in the semi-autonomous city, with some young campaigners pushing for self-determination or outright independence from China.


Taiwan team gets nod to attend OECD meet

TAIPEI • Taiwan's delegation was allowed to attend a meeting of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in the Belgian capital Brussels yesterday after being asked to leave the previous day due to pressure from China, Taiwan's Central News Agency reported.

Taiwan's representative to the European Union and Belgium, Mr Tung Kuo-yu, said his delegation took part in the meeting under the name "Taiwan" and was seated between Turkey and Sweden.

Officials from Belgium's Ministry of Economic Affairs had apologised to the Taiwanese delegation for Monday's incident after a protest by the Taiwanese government after Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Kris Peeters caved in to pressure from China to ask the Taiwanese delegates to leave.

Taiwan, which is not a member of the OECD, was invited as a dialogue partner to attend a high-level symposium on the steel sector, which was co-sponsored by Belgium and the OECD.

It is the latest bout of diplomatic sparring between Taiwan and China as tensions simmer ahead of the inauguration of Taiwan's President-elect, Ms Tsai Ing-wen, next month. Beijing does not trust Ms Tsai's historically pro-independence party and ties are predicted to deteriorate.

Although it is self-ruling, Beijing considers Taiwan a province awaiting reunification since the two sides split after a civil war on the mainland in 1949.


No school for some in Malaysia amid heatwave

KAJANG (MALAYSIA) • Schools in districts of Jerantut in Pahang and Kuala Krai in Kelantan will close today and tomorrow due to the heat. Education Minister Mahdzir Khalid said the temperature in these two places had exceeded 37 deg C for the past 72 hours.

The Education Ministry said in a statement the closure would involve 30 secondary and 89 primary schools.

"This affects 41,665 students comprising 38,849 in primary and secondary schools with the rest in pre-schools," said the statement.

The ministry said that only students would be excused from attending classes. School staff would still have to be in school to carry out other duties that did not involve teaching.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 20, 2016, with the headline 'AsiaBriefs'. Subscribe