India’s SC demands action on acid attacks

Updated 10 July 2013
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India’s SC demands action on acid attacks

NEW DELHI: India’s top court criticized the government yesterday for failing to formulate a policy to reduce the number of acid attacks on women.
The Supreme Court rebuked the government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for failing to consider regulating the sale of acid used in the assaults, which leave the victims permanently disfigured.
“Girls are dying every day and the central government and state governments are not serious,” a two-judge bench comprising justices R.M Lodha and S.J. Mukhopadhaya said in a statement. According to the London-based charity Acid Survivors Trust International, about 1,500 acid attacks are reported globally each year, while groups in India say the problem is growing locally.
The judges demanded that the Cabinet prepare a new scheme to curb attacks and provide support to victims by July 16.
Otherwise, they threatened to pass a legally binding order compelling the government to take action.
In the wake of a horrifying gang-rape in New Delhi in December, Parliament voted to toughen laws to protect women including doubling the minimum prison sentence for gang-rape to 20 years.
But lawmakers voted against increasing the punishment for acid attackers. They can be jailed for eight to 12 years depending on the injuries inflicted, but the offense is bailable.
In one such incident, four sisters walking home in northern India in April suffered severe burns after being attacked with acid by two men on a motorbike.
In 2011 neighboring Pakistan adopted legislation increasing the punishment for acid attackers to between 14 years and life in jail and a minimum fine of one million Pakistan rupees ($ 10,000).


Trump, Moon discuss North Korea’s threat to scrap summit

Updated 20 May 2018
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Trump, Moon discuss North Korea’s threat to scrap summit

  • Kim Jong Un has threatened to pull out of the talks with the US after calls for a unilateral nuclear abandonment
  • North Korea also canceled at the last minute a high-level meeting with the South, protesting joint military drills between Seoul and Washington

SEOUL: US President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Sunday discussed North Korea’s recent threats to cancel its unprecedented summit with Washington, Seoul’s presidential office said.
After weeks of warm words and diplomatic backslapping, Pyongyang abruptly threatened to pull out of the planned summit next month because of US demands for “unilateral nuclear abandonment,” according to the North’s official KCNA news agency.
North Korea also canceled at the last minute a high-level meeting with the South, protesting joint military drills between Seoul and Washington.
In a phone conversation on Sunday, Trump and Moon “exchanged views on various actions taken by North Korea recently,” Moon’s office said in a statement.
The two leaders agreed to “work closely” for the success of the landmark summit in Singapore on June 12, which would be the first meeting between a sitting US President and a North Korean leader.
They are due to meet in Washington on Tuesday.
North Korea’s sudden shift in attitude followed a weeks-long charm offensive that has seen leader Kim Jong Un hold a historic summit with Moon and meet twice with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
At a dramatic summit last month in the Demilitarised Zone dividing their two countries, Kim and Moon pledged to pursue nuclear disarmament and a peace treaty.
Pyongyang also raised hopes ahead of the US summit by announcing it will destroy its nuclear testing site next week.
But the promise is open to interpretation on both sides and the North has spent decades developing its atomic arsenal, culminating last year in its sixth nuclear test — by far its biggest to date — and the launch of missiles capable of reaching the US.