Briefs, January 4, 2013

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 04 January, 2013, 4:20am

Court says chief justice impeachment unlawful

COLOMBO - Sri Lanka's supreme court said yesterday parliament does not have the authority to investigate accusations of misconduct against senior judges and an impeachment proceeding against the chief justice was against the law. On November 6, President Mahinda Rajapaksa's ruling party filed an impeachment motion against Shirani Bandaranayake, Sri Lanka's first female head of the supreme court. The government complained that she had been overstepping her authority, but Bandaranayake's supporters complained of political interference in the judiciary. Reuters


Philippines condemns murder by loggers

MANILA - The Philippine government has voiced outrage at "ruthless" illegal loggers intent on defying a nationwide ban on destroying forests, following the New Year's Day murder of an environment officer. Two unidentified men armed with M-16 rifles shot environment department officer Alfredo Almueda in the head as he waited at a forest checkpoint to intercept a truck carrying logs. "We condemn in the strongest possible terms the killing of yet another environment officer," Environment Secretary Ramon Paje said. AFP


Women banned from straddling motorcycles

BANDA ACEH -- A city in Indonesia's Islamic law stronghold of Aceh will ban women from straddling male drivers on motorcycles, with the mayor dubbing the position "improper". Under the new law, women in Lhokseumawe city, in northern Sumatra, will have to sit with their legs dangling off to one side. "Women sitting on motorbikes must not sit astride because it will provoke the male driver. It's also to protect women from an undesirable condition," mayor Suaidi Yahya said. AFP


Soldier Rain to be punished for dating

SEOUL -The South Korean military will punish pop star Rain for meeting with a top actress while on duty during his mandatory military service. Paparazzi photos showing Rain meeting Kim Tae-hee have raised suspicions that highly sought-after entertainers may be receiving special favours during military service. The ministry denies Rain has received special treatment. But a spokesman said Rain, an "entertainment soldier", broke rules by meeting Kim at least three times late last year. AP


Protesters seek action over rape of maid

KATHMANDU - Hundreds of Nepalese campaigners protested over the alleged rape and robbery of a maid by government officials. Sita Rai, an assumed name used by the 21-year-old to protect her identity, says she was robbed by officials and then raped by a policeman as she returned to Kathmandu's airport from Saudi Arabia. Rai was given US$1,700 in compensation, angering demonstrators who began picketing the residence of Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai a week ago. AFP