Rights groups push hard in Cambodia
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia
International human rights groups are stepping up their campaign for the release of two men believed wrongly convicted of killing a prominent Cambodian union leader.
Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions issued statements received yesterday, saying a recently released statement by a key eyewitness to the murder, Va Sothy, strengthens long-held skepticism that the two men are scapegoats used by the Cambodian authorities to conceal the real motive behind the assassination.
"This new testimony from the prime eyewitness to the murder is the final blow to a prosecution case that was critically flawed from the beginning," Brad Adams, Asia director of the New York-based Human Rights Watch, said in the statement, dated Tuesday.
Probing history book
Indonesian authorities are investigating a history text book that re-examines the events that led to ex-dictator Suharto assuming power and may bring criminal charges against its authors, the attorney general's office said yesterday.
General Suharto rose to power after an attempted coup in 1965 that he blamed on the Communist party. During his brutal rule, state propaganda and history books reflected this account and depicted him as having been forced to take over to save the country from communist ruin. Since his downfall in 1998, local historians have publicly questioned this account.
The text book, introduced in 2004, reflects different opinions on the coup.
Muchtar Arifin, a junior attorney general, said a probe had been launched into the book after complaints by unnamed people.
The Australian taxman is driving prostitutes underground, risking public health and causing a skills crisis in the world's oldest profession, sex workers told yesterday's Sydney Morning Herald daily.
Australian tax authorities decided to audit the sex industry earlier this year to try to recoup some of the millions of Australian dollars in revenue they feared was being lost every year by prostitutes not declaring their earnings.
But the clampdown has spooked many sex workers who were not used to paying tax, were unwilling to give up unemployment benefits and were uncomfortable with providing personal details to the taxman, the paper said, citing industry professionals.
A Japanese mental health counselor recited pi to 100,000 decimal places from memory yesterday, setting what he claims to be a new world record.
Akira Haraguchi, 60, needed more than 16 hours to recite the number to 100,000 decimal places, breaking his personal best of 83,431 digits set in 1995, his office said yesterday. He made the attempt at a public hall in Kisarazu, just east of Tokyo.
"What I am aiming at is not just memorizing figures, I am thrilled by seeking a story in pi," Haraguchi said.
The Guinness Book of Records currently lists Hiroyuki Goto, also from Japan, as the official record holder for reciting pi from memory. He recited the ratio out to 42,195 decimal places in 1995.