BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN: The Sultan of Brunei introduced tough Shariah law punishments yesterday, including death by stoning for crimes such as adultery, hailing what he called a “historic” step by his country. Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah said a new Shariah Penal Code in the works for years was officially introduced and would be phased in beginning in six months. Based on individual cases, punishments could include stoning to death for adultery, severing of limbs for theft, and flogging for violations ranging from abortion to alcohol consumption. The code applies only to Muslims.
Eight punished over receptions
BEIJING: Eight employees of China’s largest railway building firm have been punished for spending more than $137m on receptions, state media reported yesterday, the latest move in the leadership’s much-publicised anti-corruption drive. The state-run Global Times newspaper did not give details of the punishment but said another 57 employees of the state-owned China Railway Construction Corporation have been reprimanded, and one faces prosecution. According to the company’s March 2012 annual report, CRCC spent 837m yuan ($137m) on receptions in one year — equivalent to about 10 percent of its 2012 profits.
S Korean cyber unit probed
SEOUL: South Korea’s Defence Ministry said yesterday that senior members of its cyber warfare unit had been questioned over their possible involvement in a widening scandal over state interference in elections. Areas of the unit’s headquarters were searched and several of its commanders questioned, a ministry official said. The main opposition Democratic Party has accused the unit of posting online comments prior to last year’s presidential election, smearing opposition candidate Moon Jae-In and extolling his ruling party rival and winner Park Geun-Hye.
Japan warns Thai visitors
TOKYO: Japan has issued a warning to Thais not to stay in Japan beyond the 15-day visa free period or risk being banned for life. The warning came after a number of Thai visitors abused the visa-free privilege to enter Japan and illegally work there. Since July 1, Japan introduced free visas for tourists from Thailand who wish to stay in the country up to 15 days. The decision prompted a sharp increase in tourists and about 200 of them reportedly entered Japan with the intention of overstaying and seeking work.
Maldives poll on November 9
MALE: The Maldives yesterday faced the prospect of a constitutional crisis after one of the main political parties warned it may not endorse plans to restage aborted elections next month. Following an international backlash over the last-minute cancellation of an election scheduled for last weekend, the Elections Commission announced late on Monday that a new poll would be held on November 9. Commission Chairman Fuwad Thowfeek also said in a post on Twitter that a run-off would take place on November 16 if no candidate won more then 50 percent of votes.