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Friday, October 25, 2013 - 8:30am

World Headlines: A Chinese Trial; The Syrian War Spills Over

Updated: 1 year ago.
In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, ousted Chinese politician Bo Xilai, center, stands as the Shandong Provincial Higher People's Court announces the decision in his second trial in Jinan, Shandong Province. The court upheld Bo's conviction and life sentence for corruption and abuse of power.

China, Xinhua

We begin in China where a court on Friday rejected an appeal by former politician Bo Xilai over his life sentence for bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power.

Bo, if you remember, was a rising star in China's political system before his career collapsed in early 2012 after his wife was linked to the murder of a British businessman. (She was handed a suspended death sentence in August). Bo himself was indicted in July and was convicted last month following a high-profile trial.

Here's how his sentence was broken down: He was found guilty of accepting bribes totaling about $3.3 million, embezzling about $820,000 and of abusing power. He was sentenced to life in prison for accepting bribes, his political rights were deprived for life, and his personal assets confiscated.

Also, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison for embezzlement and had personal assets of about $165,000 confiscated. Bo was sentenced to seven years' imprisonment for abuse of power.

Xinhua reported Friday on how Bo's appeals process worked:

"Bo submitted an appeal after the verdict was handed down. The Shandong Higher People's Court filed Bo's appeal and formed a collegial panel for the second trial.

"The collegial panel reviewed all the case files and video footage of the first trial, examined Bo's appeal documents and defence lawyers' opinions.

"The panel interrogated Bo several times and heard opinions of his lawyers, verified all evidence, comprehensively examined the facts confirmed during the first trial and legal applications to fully safeguard the litigation rights of Bo and the defence lawyers.

"After review by the collegial panel and deliberation of a judgment committee, Shandong Higher People's Court gave its decision."

Lebanon, Daily Star

Syria's civil war has sent refugees flooding into Lebanon. The war has also contributed to violence in the neighboring state.

At least seven people were killed in the Lebanese city of Tripoli in overnight fighting between gunmen loyal to Syria's president and those opposed to Bashar Assad. Twelve people were also wounded, raising the number of people injured in the fifth consecutive day of fighting to more than 70.

Lebanese security sources told the newspaper the overnight battles were the fiercest since the fighting began Sunday.

"Tripoli, Lebanon's second largest city, has seen recurrent clashes linked to the crisis in neighboring Syria, namely between Jabal Mohsen, which backs Syrian President Bashar Assad, and Bab al-Tabbaneh, which supports his opponents," the newspaper reported.

Tripoli, the BBC reports, has a small Alawite community living amid a Sunni majority. Syria's Assad is Alawite; his opponents in the civil war are mainly Sunni.

Nigeria, Vanguard

More than half of all Nigerians live on $1 a day. That may be one reason why there's anger over a government minister's purchase of two bulletproof BMWs for $1.4 million for her ministry.

Nigeria's Civil Aviation Authority says it ordered the two BMW 760Li cars at the request of Aviation Minister Stella Oduah. The revelations, which were first made in Sahara Reporters, a U.S.-based website that covers the region, sparked outrage in Nigeria.

The country's House of Representatives is holding an inquiry into the purchases. Oduah did not attend Thursday's hearing before the House Committee on Aviation, prompting members of the panel to demand that she appear at the next hearing Tuesday or face sanctions.

Australia, Sydney Morning Herald

Australia won't make fridges after 2016: Swedish manufacturer Electrolux announced that it would close its plant in Orange, New South Wales, by 2016.

Some 500 people will lose their jobs, severely affecting the economy of the city in a rural part of the state in eastern Australia. The plant has operated in Orange for more than 70 years.

Here's more from the newspaper:

"The refrigeration plant in Orange has been under the microscope since February, when Electrolux announced a six-month investment study to see if Orange is globally competitive enough to make a new range of refrigerators and freezers. Reconfiguring the factory to build the new range would have cost more than $45 million.

"John Brown, managing director of Electrolux Home Products Australia and New Zealand, said the company understood the sensitivity of its decision, but the company's investment study concluded it could manufacture refrigerators more cheaply in other factories in Asia and Eastern Europe. He said the company had spoken to all levels of government before reaching its decision."

Europe

We didn't mean to leave out the fallout in Europe over the U.S. National Security Agency's reported surveillance in France and Germany. The controversy has pushed Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Francois Hollande to call for talks with the U.S. (You can read those stories by clicking on the links or you can find NPR's coverage here.)

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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