Former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak was convicted Tuesday for his involvement in crimes of looting multibillion-dollar of a Malaysian state investment fund that brought him down in a shocking election ouster two years ago.
Najib, the first Malaysian leader convicted, vowed to appeal against the verdict that could bring many years in prison, reports AP.
Political analysts said the ruling would reinforce the prosecution’s case in Najib’s other trials and would signal to the business community the Malaysia’s legal system has strength in tackling international financial crimes.
Judge Mohamad Nazlan Ghazali said: “I find the accused guilty and convict the accused of all seven charges.”
He spent two hours to read out an elaborate ruling while some of Najib’s supporters waited outside the court house and cried when they learned of the verdict.
Najib, 67, faces between 15 and 20 years plus hefty fines for each of the seven charges.
The former PM has said that he was misled by rogue bankers and the case against him is political.
On late Monday, Najib wrote on Facebook, “I want justice. I want to clear my name. After this, we will go to the Court of Appeal. I am ready.”
Najibe faces 42 charges in five separate trials and could face years in prison. His lawyers asked the judge to delay their arguments on sentencing until next week.
Najib was accused of using his position to receive a bribe for approving a government guarantee for billions in loans to SRC, committing criminal breach of trust and accepting proceeds from unlawful activities.
Oh Ei Sun, a senior fellow with Singapore’s Institute of International Affairs, said “The conviction would serve as a solid foundation for the prosecution in ensuing IMDB-related trials.”
Najib’s party is the biggest bloc in the current Malay nationalist alliance that has governed thin majority in parliament since March.
Analyst Bridget Welsh, honorary research associate with University of Nottingham Malaysia, said “The ruling was absolutely good for Malaysia.”
“I think that there is a sense of euphoria among the citizens that justice is being served, among the majority of Malaysians,” Welsh said.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said that his country is fighting unitedly to tackle the coronavirus situation over the past few months.
Modi made the remarks in his monthly address to the nation over radio on Sunday, reports Xinhua.
India's rural regions have come up as a beacon of guidance for the entire country, said Modi.
He said the hazards of COVID-19 are far from being over as it is spreading fast at many places.
"We need to be extra vigilant. We have to keep it in mind that Coronavirus is as fatal today as it was in the beginning - that's why we have to be fully cautious," he said in his 67th edition of the radio programme "Mann Ki Baat" (Talk from Heart).
"Wearing a face mask, using a light towel to cover, two-yard distancing, frequently washing hands, avoiding spitting anywhere, taking full care of hygiene and sanitation - these are our weapons to protect us from Corona," he added.
He said that during the pandemic, India's rural regions have come up as a beacon of guidance for the entire country.
Many examples of effective endeavours on part of local residents of villages are coming to the fore, added the Prime Minister.
India, the third-worst hit country, has recorded 1,435,616 confirmed coronavirus cases with 32,771 fatalities, according to tally of Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.
The Indian government has decided to extend the existing restrictions on limited domestic flight operations and caps on air fares till November 24.
A senior official at the civil aviation ministry said they would be extending their capacity of flight operations, reports Xinhua.
Currently, domestic flight operations are allowed to function at 45 percent of their total capacity.
Last month, the ministry had cleared an increase in capacity of flight operations to 45 percent from 33 percent.
On May 21, it capped domestic flights to a third of their approved summer schedule.
The country's aviation regulator Director General of Civil Aviation had in May imposed fare limits for different bands. Domestic flights of less than 40-minute duration are supposed to have lower and upper limits of 2,000 Indian Rupees (around 28 US dollars) and 6,000 Rupees (around $85).
Flights of 150-180 minutes have 5,500 Rupees (around $78) and 15,700 Rupees (around $224) as the lower and upper limits, respectively.
According to the ministry's directive, the airlines in the country should adhere to these upper and lower fares limits during the COVID-19 pandemic period.
India has started its first human trials of a novel coronavirus vaccine candidate as the world’s second-most populous country recorded nearly 49,000 new cases.
The All India Institute of Medical Sciences, a premier teaching hospital in the capital of New Delhi, said, it has administered the first dose of a trial COVID-19 vaccine on Friday.
The candidate vaccine, Covaxin, is among nearly two dozen that are in human trials around the world, reports AP.
AIIMS is among the 12 sites selected by the Indian Council for Medical Research for conducting the two-phase randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials of Covaxin.
Countries are making giant bets on various vaccine candidates, entering into purchasing agreements with pharmaceutical companies for delivery if and when regulators deem the doses safe and effective.
The additional infections take India’s total to more than 1.3 million on Saturday, with surges seen in a quarter of the country’s 36 states and union territories.
India has tallied 31,358 deaths, including 757 in the last 24 hours.
It has reported a much lower death rate than the world’s two other worst-hit countries, the United States and Brazil. Johns Hopkins University showed that the U.S. has more than 4.1 million cases, while Brazil has a caseload of nearly 2.3 million.
The government of Nepal has decided to formally end the nearly four-month lockdown imposed on March 24 to prevent transmission of Covid-19, said a senior cabinet minister.
The Nepali government took the decision as the country witnesses declining number of new COVID-19 cases in recent days, allowing almost all economic activities to operate.
A cabinet meeting has decided to end the lockdown from Tuesday mid-night, Yubaraj Khatiwada, Nepali government's spokesperson and the minister for finance and communication, said at a regular press meet on Tuesday.
The Nepali government had imposed the nationwide lockdown on March 24, but since June, the government had started relaxing the lockdown gradually and in phase-wise manner.
The cabinet decision comes after Nepal has been reporting a sharp drop in COVID-19 cases in the recent days from 740 cases a day on July 3 to 150 cases on Tuesday.
According to the Ministry of Health and Population, total cases reached 17,994 on Tuesday.
According to the cabinet decision, the Nepali government has allowed conducting most of the activities in the hospitality sector by following certain health protocols.
It has also opened the trekking, travel and mountaineering sector for service resumption.