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Ex-Chinese justice minister sentenced to death for ‘bending the law for personal gains’



• Former Chinese justice minister Fu Zhenghua is escorted by court police as he attends a court session for his verdict announcement in Changchun, northeastern China’s Jilin province on Thursday. (AP)

BEIJING: China on Thursday sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve a former justice minister, who spearheaded high-profile graft probes during his tenure, for taking bribes and “bending the law for personal gains”, state media reported.

Fu Zhenghua, 67, had also served as the head of the Beijing municipal public security bureau and as vice-minister of public security.

Fu’s indictment weeks ahead of the all-important Communist Party of China (CPC) congress in October indicates President Xi Jinping’s continued focus on “taking out the tigers” of corruption, part of the anti-graft campaign he began a decade ago.

As vice-minister, Fu was in-charge of a high-profile corruption investigation into Zhou Yonkang, who was himself China’s top security official and retired as a member of Communist party’s politburo standing committee, the country’s top decision-making body; Zhou received a life sentence in jail for corruption in 2015.

Fu, who became justice minister in 2018, was a rising star until corruption charges brought him down in 2021.

“Fu, former deputy head of the Committee on Social and Legal Affairs of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (after his tenure as justice minister), was accused of bribe-taking and bending the law for personal gains,” state-run China Daily said in a report on him on Thursday.

The court in Jilin was told by prosecutors that Fu took advantage of his position to seek gains for others regarding business operations, official positions and legal cases.

He is said to have illegally received “money and gifts worth 117 million yuan ($17.3 million) either directly or through his relatives,” the court was told.

In July when the court case began, prosecutors said: “During his tenure at the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau, Fu purposefully shielded his brother, who had severely breached the law, from criminal prosecution.”

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), China’s corruption watchdog, had earlier said Fu also joined the “political gang” of Sun Lijun, former vice-minister of public security, ousted and prosecuted in 2021 for bribery, stock market manipulation and illegal gun possession.

In his final statement to the court in July, Fu had pleaded guilty and expressed remorse.

Under Chinese law, a death sentence with a reprieve usually means that the sentence could be commuted to a life sentence at the end of the two-year term depending on the accused’s behaviour.

President Xi Jinping’s decade-long anti-corruption drive has been one of his signature campaigns, which has also been used to purge rivals and the disloyal, say China watchers.

Xi had identified “corruption” as one of the primary “pressing issues” China faced when he took over as the general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in November, 2012.

The campaign since then has focussed on “swatting the flies” and “taking out the tigers” with “flies” being low-ranking officials and “tigers”, the high-ranking ones.

Since November 2012, discipline inspectors across the country had dealt with nearly 4.4 million cases concerning discipline violations as of April 2022, in which 4.7 million people were involved, official news agency Xinhua said in a report earlier this week.



President Joe Biden tumbles, falls during graduation ceremony



President Joe Biden took a face-first tumble on Thursday after tripping over an obstacle on stage at the Air Force Academy in Colorado, but he appeared unhurt.

Biden, 80, who had delivered the commencement address to graduates of the military academy, had just shaken hands with a cadet and begun walking back to his seat when he fell.

Air Force personnel helped him back up and he did not appear to require further help.

As he rose, Biden pointed to the object that had apparently caught his foot. It resembled a small black sandbag on the stage.

White House Communications Director Ben LaBolt tweeted shortly afterward that “he’s fine. There was a sandbag on stage while he was shaking hands.”

Biden is the oldest person ever in the presidency and is seeking a second term in the 2024 election. His official doctor’s report this year declared him physically fit and he exercises regularly.

In November 2020, shortly after winning his election against the incumbent Donald Trump, Biden broke his foot while playing with a pet dog.


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Good sex secret to my long life — 102-year-old woman



•102-Years Old Joyce Jackman
A 102-year-old British woman, identified as Joyce Jackman, has attributed her longevity to good sex.

Jackman, who celebrated her 102nd birthday on May 9, stated that “good sex and good sherry” leads to long-term satisfaction, NY Post reports.

According to her, a combination of both has helped her live for over a century.

Speaking about her birthday celebration, the centenarian said, “I had such a lovely day.

“I can’t believe I’m 102. It must be all the chocolate I eat that’s helped!”

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Arrested Asiana Airlines passenger gives reason for opening plane door midair



The Asiana Airlines plane landed at Daegu with its door open

A man who opened an emergency exit on an Asiana Airlines flight in mid-air felt “suffocated” and wanted to get off quickly, South Korean police said on Saturday.

The plane was carrying nearly 200 passengers as it approached the runway on Friday at Daegu International Airport, about 240 kilometres (149 miles) southeast of Seoul, on a domestic flight.

When the plane was around 200 meters (650 feet) above ground, the man who police said was in his 30s without providing further details, opened the exit door.

The passenger was taken in by Daegu police for questioning and told officers he had been “under stress after losing a job recently”.

“He felt the flight was taking longer than it should have been and felt suffocated inside the cabin,” a Daegu police detective told AFP.

“He wanted out quickly”.

The passenger faces up to 10 years in prison for violating aviation safety laws.

A video clip shot by a nearby passenger showed wind ripping through the open door, with fabric seat-backs and passengers’ hair flapping wildly as some people shouted in surprise.

Another video shared on social media showed passengers sitting in the emergency exit row next to an open door being buffeted by strong winds.

A dozen passengers were taken to hospital after experiencing breathing difficulties but there were no major injuries or damage, according to the transport ministry.

“It was chaos with people close to the door appearing to faint one by one and flight attendants calling out for doctors on board,” a 44-year-old passenger told Yonhap.

“I thought the plane was blowing up. I thought I was going to die like this.”

A transport ministry official told AFP that this was “the first such incident” they were aware of in Korean aviation history.

Experts say South Korea’s aviation industry has a solid safety record

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