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December 2018
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Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner possible next chief of staff: US media        Sri Lanka PM Mahinda Rajapaksa to resign, says his son after court setback        Rahul Gandhi After Rafale Verdict: "Will Prove PM Helped Anil Ambani"        Author Amitav Ghosh Honoured With 54th Jnanpith Award        Supreme Court sees no wrongdoing in Rafale deal, rules out probe        India bowled a little bit short, Australia pacers could benefit: Border        ISL: FC Goa thrash NorthEast United 5-1        BWF World Tour Finals: PV Sindhu, Sameer Verma Register Easy Wins To Enter Semifinals        Diving legend says HIV-contracted friend inspired him to Olympic gold        India beat Pakistan to reach final of Emerging Teams Asia Cup        Boosting exports key to make India $5-tn economy by 2025: Kant        Prabhu, US Commerce Secretary to discuss trade issues on Feb 14        Ceasefire for key Yemen port agreed at peace talks: UN        Britain's May sees no 'immediate breakthrough' at EU        Poll results prove Ram Temple or communal polarisation doesn't cut ice with people: Sinha        Ashok Gehlot appeals to Cong workers in Raj to maintain peace        Rahul tweets pic with Kamal Nath, Scindia as race for CM moves to Bhopal        Aussies will fight back, but India has upper hand: Ghavri        World Tour Finals: Tough road ahead for Sindhu; Sameer too eyes knockout berth        Govt should consider 100% FDI in multi-brand retail trade: CII report        
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International News
S Korea's Park jailed for 24 years over corruption
 
(Seoul, Apr 6, 2018): South Korea's disgraced former president Park Geun-hye was jailed for 24 years today for corruption, closing out a dramatic fall from grace for the country's first woman leader who became a figure of public fury and ridicule.

The sentence followed a trial lasting more than 10 months which ended with Park being found guilty on multiple criminal charges, including bribery and abuse of power.

"The amount of bribery the accused received or demanded in collaboration with Choi amounts to more than 23 billion won (USD 21.7 million)," Judge Kim Se-Yoon said, referring to Park's secret confidante and long-time friend Choi Soon-sil.

"I sentence the accused to 24 years in prison and 18 billion won in fines."

Park, 66, had boycotted most of the trial in protest at being held in custody. She was not present in court for today's judgement which, in a rare move, was broadcast live on television.

The daughter of assassinated dictator Park Chung-hee, Park took office in 2013 as a conservative icon who cast herself in the role of daughter of the nation -- incorruptible and beholden to none.

Less than four years later, she was impeached, stripped of all her powers and ousted from office on the back of months-long mass protests that brought millions onto the streets of Seoul and other cities.

The trigger was a snowballing graft scandal involving Park and Choi and accusations of graft, influence-peddling and taking bribes from corporate bigwigs in exchange for policy favours.

Much of the public anger was focused on Park's relationship with Choi and accusations that she let her childhood friend -- who held no formal position or security clearance -- meddle in state affairs, including high-level appointments and editing official speeches.

Choi is the daughter of a shadowy religious figure who had served as a mentor to Park for decades until his death in 1994. She was tried separately and sentenced in February to 20 years in prison.

Condemned in the media for her "Rasputin-like" influence over Park, Choi was convicted of using her presidential ties to squeeze tens of millions of dollars out of major South Korean businesses, including Samsung -- the world's top smartphone maker -- and retail giant Lotte.

The scandal reignited public criticism in South Korea of the cosy and often corrupt ties between top officials and the powerful, family-run conglomerates -- called "chaebol" -- that dominate the world's 11th-largest economy.

Park becomes the third former South Korean leader to be convicted on criminal charges after leaving office, joining Chun Doo-whan and Roh Tae-woo, who were both found guilty of treason and corruption in the 1990s.

Park's presidential predecessor Lee Myung-bak is currently in custody as prosecutors investigate multiple corruption charges involving him and his relatives.

Chun and Roh received presidential pardons after each spent around two years in jail -- a privilege that may elude Park for many years, said Jeong Han-wool, an analyst at the Seoul Hankook Research think-tank.

"Park has denied all charges against her and expressed no remorse or atonement -- legally as well as politically -- for what's probably the most shocking political scandal in our modern history," Jeong told AFP.

"Given her attitude and public anger over her scandal that remains raw, it will be difficult to create a political environment in favour of her release anytime soon."

Park's left-leaning successor, Moon Jae-in, came to power largely because of the public backlash against her and her conservative party, dimming hopes for a pardon under the current administration, he added.

There is some residual sympathy for Park among her core supporters, who have always seen her as a heroically tragic figure who lost both her parents to assassins and devoted her life to the service of her country.

The fact that she never married or had children was part of her appeal, given the nepotistic tendencies of many senior officials.

"I am married to the Republic of Korea. I have no children. South Koreans are my family," she once declared.(AFP)


Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner possible next chief of staff: US media
Sri Lanka PM Mahinda Rajapaksa to resign, says his son after court setback
Ceasefire for key Yemen port agreed at peace talks: UN
Britain's May sees no 'immediate breakthrough' at EU
Khashoggi, other journalists named Time 'Person of the Year'
May tours Europe in desperate bid to save Brexit deal
Trump's potential next chief of staff pick leaving White House
UK PM faces fight for her political life in Brexit deal
Iran arrests 10 over suicide attack on police
Trump chooses new Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, against Mattis wishes
Merkel gets boost with ally's party win
Rouhani warns weakened Iran less able to fight trafficking
Trump may nominate Heather Nauert as UN Ambassador: Reports
Qatar injects more cash into Gaza for Hamas employees
Singer Mika Singh Detained in Dubai for Sending Obscene Messages to 17-year-old: Reports
Conditions Met for Assange to Leave Embassy in London, Says Ecuador President
Pakistan slashes non-salary budget by 10%
Moscow dismisses 'groundless' US claim Russia breaching arms treaty
AgustaWestland deal 'middleman' Christian Michel brought to India
Don't be like Hitler: sacked Lankan PM tells President Sirisena
ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
Vaikom Vijayalekshmi ties knot with Anoop
 Vaikom: Playback singer Vaikom Vijayalekshmi has tied knot with Anoop N. at Vaikom Mahadeva temple.  
Mohanlal's Odiyan: Official trailer launched
Mammootty narrates Odiyan's intro?
Sradha Kapoor as Saina Nehwal: First look poster is out.
KERALA NEWS
Activist Rehana Fathima, Who Attempted Sabarimala Trek, Arrested Over Facebook Post
 (Kochi, Nov 28, 2018): Model and activist Rehana Fathima, who tried to reach Kerala's Sabarim
Good news for Keralite Nurses: IELTS cut-off reduced to 6.5
BJP leader K Surendran, 71 others granted bail
Sabarimala protests: Arrests up to 2061, Kerala HC warns police
NATIONAL NEWS
Rahul Gandhi After Rafale Verdict: "Will Prove PM Helped Anil Ambani"
 (New Delhi, Dec 14, 2018):Hours after the Supreme Court's clean chit to the government on the
Author Amitav Ghosh Honoured With 54th Jnanpith Award
Poll results prove Ram Temple or communal polarisation doesn't cut ice with people: Sinha
Ashok Gehlot appeals to Cong workers in Raj to maintain peace
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