Dead student’s remains found on sunken South Korean ship

In this file photo, the sunken ferry Sewol sitting on a semi-submersible transport vessel arrives at a port in Mokpo, South Korea. (AP)
Updated 20 May 2017
0

Dead student’s remains found on sunken South Korean ship

SEOUL: A set of human remains retrieved from the salvaged Sewol ferry wreck has been identified as one of four students who remained unaccounted for following the 2014 disaster, officials said on Friday.
The 6,800-ton ship sank off the country’s southwestern coast in one of its worst maritime accidents, claiming more than 300 lives, mostly high school students on an excursion.
Nine victims were left unaccounted for, and the 145-meter Sewol was raised in March to search for them.
Bones retrieved on Tuesday from the third floor of the salvaged ship matched X-rays and dental records from Huh Da-Yun, the Maritime Ministry said in a press statement.
She is the first of the missing students from Danwon high school to be identified following the raising of the wreck.
“We have to find the rest of her remains,” her father Huh Heung-Hwan was quoted as saying by the JoongAng daily.
“I dreamt of my daughter a few days ago,” he told the paper. “She was smiling in the dream. I held her hand tight and hugged her and today, she returned like this.”
Huh, 17, liked dancing and singing, looking after children at a Sunday school in her church, and wanted to become a kindergarten teacher, the Yonhap news agency reported.
As a helicopter plucked survivors from the deck of the sinking ship, it said, she yielded her turn to friends.
Her identification comes after a piece of bone recovered two weeks ago from the sea bed where the ship had been lying was confirmed as belonging to one of two missing teachers from the institution.
Seven others still unaccounted for include the other teacher, three students and three other passengers.
The Sewol sinking and botched rescue efforts dealt a crushing blow to now-ousted president Park Geun-Hye.
Investigations concluded the disaster was the result of numerous human factors, including an illegal redesign, an overloaded cargo bay and inexperienced crew.


Indonesia jails former parliament speaker for 15 years over graft

Updated 34 min 43 sec ago
0

Indonesia jails former parliament speaker for 15 years over graft

JAKARTA: An Indonesian court on Tuesday sentenced the former speaker of parliament, Setya Novanto, to 15 years in jail for his role in causing state losses of around $170 million, linked to a national electronic identity card scheme.
The case has shocked Indonesians, already used to large corruption scandals and has reinforced a widely held perception that their parliament, long regarded as riddled with corruption, is a failing institution.
“The defendant is found guilty of conspiring to commit corruption and is sentenced to 15 years in prison and fined 500 million rupiah,” Yanto, the head of a panel of five judges, told the Jakarta court. The fine is equivalent to $36,000.
Novanto would be barred from holding public office for five years after serving his sentence and have to repay $7.3 million he was accused of plundering, added the judge, who goes by one name.
In a session that ran for more than three hours, judges read out dozens of case notes, including descriptions of where the former speaker held meetings to divvy up cash made from a mark-up on a contract for the identity card.
Novanto showed little emotion as the judge read the verdict.
After a quick consultation with his legal team, he told the court he would take some time to consider whether to appeal the sentence.
Novanto is accused of orchestrating a scheme to steal $173 million, or almost 40 percent of the entire budget for a government contract for the national identity card.
Prosecutors, who had questioned 80 witnesses in the case, had sought a jail term of at least 16 years for the former speaker.
Novanto, who had been implicated in five graft scandals since the 1990s but never convicted, was detained by investigators last November after repeatedly missing summonses for questioning over the case, saying he needed heart surgery.
Indonesians have to contend with high levels of graft in many areas of their lives and the country placed 96th among 180 countries in Transparency International’s annual corruption perceptions index last year, on par with Colombia and Thailand.