S. Korea to triple budget in Japan island dispute

Updated 13 November 2012
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S. Korea to triple budget in Japan island dispute

SEOUL: A South Korean Parliamentary committee has agreed to nearly triple a special budget for promoting Seoul’s sovereignty over an isolated set of islands also claimed by Japan, officials said yesterday.
The foreign affairs committee approved the 6.2 billion won ($5.7 million) budget on Friday, a foreign ministry official told AFP.
The money — up from this year’s budget of 2.3 billion won — would be used to fund state-led activities promoting the ownership of the Dokdo islands, which are known as the Takeshima islands in Japan.
Committee member Chung Moon-Hun said approval for the extra funding marked a moment of “rare, bipartisan” accord between rival lawmakers.
The decades-long dispute over the islands — which lie roughly midway between the two nations — boiled over in August after a surprise visit by South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak.
Tokyo said the trip, the first ever by a South Korean president, was deliberately provocative.
The budget will be used to run advertisements overseas promoting Seoul’s ownership of the islands and to collect more historical evidence to support the territorial claim.
Seoul insists Tokyo’s claim to the islands is erroneously founded in Japan’s 1910-45 colonial rule over South Korea.
Japan is also embroiled in a separate row with China over a different set of disputed islands in the East China Sea.


Trial starts for suspect in tourist killings in Tajikistan

Updated 23 October 2018
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Trial starts for suspect in tourist killings in Tajikistan

  • Man who swore allegiance to Daesh before killing four foreign cyclists in ex-Soviet Tajikistan went on trial
  • Four of Abdusamadov’s accomplices were killed by police during a manhunt

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan: A man who swore allegiance to Daesh before killing four foreign cyclists in ex-Soviet Tajikistan went on trial Tuesday in a process closed to the public.
Tajikistan’s Supreme Court spokesperson told AFP Tuesday the trial for the “brutal murder of four foreign cyclists” had begun in the suspect’s high-security detention center.
Hussein Abdusamadov, 33, already confessed to killing American cycling tourists Lauren Geoghegan and Jay Austin, Dutch citizen Rene Wokke and Swiss citizen Markus Hummel in July.
The victims were struck by a car as they cycled along the remote Pamir Highway, a popular route among adventure tourists, before being set upon with knives and firearms.
Four of Abdusamadov’s accomplices were killed by police during a manhunt.
A video of the five men pledging allegiance to Daesh leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi was released by an official Daesh media channel.
Tajik authorities have so far ignored the video evidence, instead blaming a former opposition party — the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan — that was banned by the government in 2015.
The fact the trial is closed has raised concerns about due process in a country with a poor record on political freedoms and human rights.
Abdusamadov implicated the IRPT as the ultimate organizer of the attack in a televised confession, but critics say the government is using the case to tar the opposition.
A dozen senior members of the IRPT are serving long sentences up to life on charges government critics say are trumped up.
In addition to Abdusamadov, 16 other people stand accused of not offering information to the authorities that could have prevented the attack, a source in the police told AFP.