International News Update
Views 26 | Time to read: 4 minutes | Uploaded: 4 - 11 - 2018 | By: Wesley Stenzel
Former Korean president sentenced to 24 years in prison
Former South Korean President Park Geun-hye has been sentenced to 24 years in prison after being found guilty of bribery, coercion, and abuse of power. The judge in the hearing stated that "the president abused the power which was given to her by the citizens," and while the prosecutors sought a 30-year sentence and $110 million fine, the 24 years and $16.8 million fine is still the most extreme punishment of any figure implicated in 2016’s massive extortion scandal. CNN reports that former President Park, the daughter of the country’s longest-serving leader and first female president, conspired with Choi Soon-sil to extort tens of millions of dollars from Korean businesses, and also shared confidential information with Ms. Choi. Samsung chief Lee Jae-yong was also implicated and found guilty of bribery last year, resulting in a four-year prison sentence.
New Zealand retroactively pardons homosexuals
New Zealand’s parliament has unanimously approved legislation that will permit people that were convicted for homosexual crimes to have their criminal records eliminated. The BBC reports that prior to this legislation, men who were arrested prior to homosexuality’s decriminalization in 1986 still had the incidents listed on their official records, despite the decriminalization. Government officials also formally apologized to the victims of the legislative oversight. The Labour Party’s Grant Robertson stated that "Hundreds, possibly thousands of lives have been lost because men could not bear the shame, the stigma and the hurt caused by this Parliament and the way that society viewed them as criminals." Justice Minister Andrew Little remarked that the decision "sends a clear signal that discrimination against gay people is no longer acceptable, and we are committed to putting right wrongs from the past." The decision will impact at least 1,000 people, and family members of deceased convicts will also be able to apply to have their relatives’ records cleared.
China and US propose new tariffs
China and the United States have both proposed new sets of tariffs that many are calling the beginnings of a trade war. Last week, China unveiled new plans for tariffs on American products like wine, pork, and pipes on Monday, which prompted President Trump to announce around $50 billion worth of tariffs on around 1,300 Chinese products such as televisions and medical technologies the following day according to The New York Times. China then refocused its efforts to concentrate on 106 specific American goods, including soybeans and airplanes on Wednesday, and Trump suggested an additional $100 million in tariffs the next day. President Trump tweeted that “We are not in a trade war with China, that war was lost many years ago by the foolish, or incompetent, people who represented the U.S,” while Chinese Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao stated that “Both sides have put their lists on the table, now it’s time for negotiations.”
Mexico halts US border negotiations
Mexico’s senate has approved a non-binding agreement that will end the country’s cooperation with the United States over issues like illegal immigration and the hotly-contested border wall. The move follows President Trump’s recent decision to militarize segments of the border with the National Guard. The Washington Post reports that Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has also condemned Trump’s decision, stating that his country has been “always willing to engage in a dialogue,” and directly addressed Trump, stating that if his actions are “the result of frustration due to...your laws or to your Congress, it is to them that you should turn to, not to Mexicans.” Peña Nieto’s comments are indicative of rising tensions between the two countries, as his statements about the Trump administration are typically more subdued. A recent poll by the Pew Research Center has suggested that as many as 93 percent of Mexican citizens do not trust President Trump to act responsibly in international affairs.