05-22-2018  5:14 am      •     
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

NEWS BRIEFS

Raina Croff to Speak at Architectural Heritage Center

'When the Landmarks are Gone: Older African Americans, Place, and Change in N/NE Portland’ describes SHARP Walking Program ...

Portland Playhouse Presents August Wilson’s ‘Fences’ Through June 10

May 20 performance will include discussion on mental health; June 10 performance will be followed by discussion of fatherhood ...

Peggy Houston-Shivers Presents Benefit Concert for Allen Temple CME

Concert to take place May 20 at Maranatha Church ...

Family Friendly Talent Show, May 18

Family Fun Night series continues at Matt Dishman Community Center ...

3 killed in Vancouver vehicle crash identified

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — The Clark County Medical's Examiner's Office has identified three men killed in a vehicle crash in Vancouver.The Oregonian/OregonLive reports 24-year-old Tabo Naveta, 27-year-old Akiki Kintin and 27-year-old Kenson Cheipot, all from Vancouver, died from injuries...

Springfield settles lawsuit with fired dispatcher for K

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — The city of Springfield has agreed to pay ,000 to settle a 2014 lawsuit by a dispatcher who said she was wrongly fired after accusing officers of inappropriate conduct.The Register-Guard reported Sunday that a joint statement from the city and the former dispatcher,...

3 killed in Vancouver vehicle crash identified

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — The Clark County Medical's Examiner's Office has identified three men killed in a vehicle crash in Vancouver.The Oregonian/OregonLive reports 24-year-old Tabo Naveta, 27-year-old Akiki Kintin and 27-year-old Kenson Cheipot, all from Vancouver, died from injuries...

Seattle, family reach M settlement for deadly crash

SEATTLE (AP) — The family of a couple killed in 2013 by a drunk driver has settled with the city of Seattle for million.KOMO-TV reported Monday that the family of Dennis and Judy Schulte settled with the city last month.Prosecutors say Mark Mullan was drunk when his pickup hit the...

OPINION

Golfing While Black Is Not a Crime

Grandview Golf Club asks five Black women to leave for golfing too slow ...

Discovering the Best of Black America in 2018

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis discusses the DTU Journalism Fellowship & Scholarship Program ...

Will Israel’s Likud Party Ever Respect the Rights of Palestinians?

Bill Fletcher weighs in on the precarious future of the two-state solution between the Israeli government and the Palestinian people ...

The Future of Medicinal Marijuana in Pets

Dr. Jasmine Streeter says CBD-derived products show beneficial therapeutic benefits for pets ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Black man ordered to pay [scripts/homepage/home.php],000 for racist campus graffiti

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — A former Eastern Michigan University student who admitted to painting racist graffiti on campus has been ordered to pay more than [scripts/homepage/home.php],000 in restitution.The Ann Arbor News reports 29-year-old Eddie Curlin learned his punishment Monday after earlier pleading guilty to...

China sentences Tibetan activist to 5 years for separatism

BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese judge sentenced a Tibetan shopkeeper to five years in prison on Tuesday for inciting separatism, based on his comments in a New York Times documentary in which the man talked about the erosion of his culture and language in the tightly secured region.Tashi Wangchuk's...

Voters choose nominees in Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Texas

ATLANTA (AP) — Four states will cast ballots Tuesday as the 2018 midterm elections take shape. Voters in Arkansas, Georgia and Kentucky hold primaries, while Texans settle several primary runoffs after their first round of voting in March. Some noteworthy story lines:IN THIS #METOO MIDTERM,...

ENTERTAINMENT

Sony buys most of EMI Music, to spend B on image sensors

TOKYO (AP) — Electronics and entertainment company Sony Corp. said Tuesday it plans to spend [scripts/homepage/home.php].3 billion acquiring an additional 60 percent stake in EMI Music Publishing, home to the Motown catalog and contemporary artists like Kanye West, Alicia Keys and Pharrell Williams.Sony already owns...

At Cannes, a #MeToo upheaval up and down the Croisette

CANNES, France (AP) — Fifty years after filmmakers shut down the Cannes Film Festival, the prestigious Cote d'Azur extravaganza was again shook by upheaval.From the start to the finish, the 71st Cannes was dominated by protest and petition for gender equality, culminating in the...

Despite Spotify change, R. Kelly's streams still intact

NEW YORK (AP) — Streaming numbers for R. Kelly have remained intact a week after Spotify announced it had removed the R&B singer's music from its playlists, citing its new policy on hate content and hateful conduct.Spotify made the bold declaration on May 10, but R. Kelly's streaming...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

All tied up: LeBron's 44 helps Cavs even series with Celtics

CLEVELAND (AP) — LeBron James knows the path to the NBA Finals better than anyone in today's game.And...

Experts disclose new details about 300-year-old shipwreck

BOSTON (AP) — A Spanish galleon laden with gold that sank to the bottom of the Caribbean off the coast of...

Palestinians ask ICC for 'immediate' probe against Israel

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Calling it a "historic step" toward justice, the Palestinian foreign minister...

Syrian army, police celebrate recapturing all of Damascus

BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian government forces raised their flag over the Yarmouk Palestinian camp in Damascus on...

EU lawmakers to press Zuckerberg over data privacy

BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union lawmakers plan to press Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday about data...

US bishop at royal wedding thought invitation was a prank

LONDON (AP) — The American bishop whose sermon caused a stir at the wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan...

By Jethro Mullen. David Mckenzie and Steven Jiang CNN





Fallen Chinese Communist Party heavyweight Bo Xilai kept up his vigorous defense against corruption charges Friday in China's most politically sensitive trial in decades.

Bo's glittering career, in which he drew admirers and detractors for his populist policies, fell apart last year amid a scandal involving murder, betrayal and financial skullduggery.

His high profile and connections among the nation's ruling elite have made his case -- with its tales of greed and wrongdoing by a top official and his family -- an extremely delicate matter for Chinese authorities. It's taken more than a year, during which time the Communist Party underwent a major leadership change, to bring him to trial.

Many observers had expected proceedings to stick closely to a preplanned script, seeing the trial's outcome as the result of a political deal struck between Bo and China's top leaders.

But as he often did in his political career, Bo has so far stolen the show, mounting a robust attack on the prosecution's case and ridiculing witnesses' testimony. That has left China watchers trying to figure out how far he's veered off script.

Bo calls wife 'insane'

He began his counterattack after the trial opened Thursday amid tight security in the eastern city of Jinan. He said he had made an earlier confession to party investigators "unwillingly" and described testimony by a former associate as "an ugly performance by a person who sold his soul."

He continued his offensive Friday, calling his imprisoned wife "insane" after the court was shown video testimony in which she implicated him in a murky property deal in the South of France.

Bo, 64, is on trial on charges of bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power.

Journalists from the international news media haven't been allowed inside the courtroom. But the court's official microblog account has delivered updates on developments inside, attracting more than 350,000 followers on Weibo, China's Twitter-like service.

CNN hasn't been able to verify precisely how accurate and comprehensive the court's version of proceedings has been. But many observers have interpreted it as a reasonably close, albeit filtered, account.

Court adjourned for the day Friday and will resume at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.

An 'eloquent' defense

"In my view, Bo Xilai has decided not to cooperate, but not completely. Because he did not go too far to condemn other leaders or reveal some other problems," said Cheng Li, a China expert at the Brookings Institution.

The prosecutors were "terrible," Li said, while Bo was "clear, focused, articulate and eloquent."

His courtroom display appears to have been striking enough to prompt a personal attack against him on the website of the People's Daily, the official Communist Party newspaper.

"Bo Xilai's righteous and forceful performance in court makes one marvel at his superb acting and lying skills," the op-ed article said, citing an unidentified "media personality who attended the trial."

"His cunning arguments are only going to prove his extremely poor character and not going to help him evade punishment under law," the article quoted the person as saying.

Conviction still seen as likely

Although the effectiveness of Bo's performance so far doesn't mean the court will acquit him, it may make it tougher for it to mete out a heavy sentence.

The conviction rate for criminal trials and their appeals in China -- where the party controls police, prosecution and courts -- stood at 99.9% in 2010, a U.S. State Department report cited the Supreme People's Court as saying.

"Of course he will be convicted, otherwise it would be disastrous," Li said. "But the sentencing now can't be very severe because of the nature of the charge and how poorly they've conducted this trial."

It remains to be seen if the prosecutors' performance improves as the case continues.

Flaws revealed

Much of the fallout from the Bo scandal came before the trial opened.

"The Bo case has revealed the fundamental flaws of the political system and the widespread phenomenon of corruption and power abuse," Li said.

Members of the Chinese leadership, including President Xi Jinping, have described corruption as an existential threat to the Communist Party. But they have so far been reluctant to pursue it too aggressively.

Analysts say that is largely because it is so rampant.

Bo's case might have been a chance to make an example of a senior official. But his trial so far suggests that top leaders are unwilling to delve too deeply or punish him too severely.

"The leadership wants to move forward. They want to put it behind them and move onto other issues," Li said. "That strategy, although it's rational, will probably not resonate very well -- you leave some potential problems for the future as they fail to use the case to consolidate and uplift public confidence in the legal system."

A dramatic downfall

Bo is a princeling, a term that refers to the children of revolutionary veterans who boast of political connections and influence. His late father, Bo Yibo, was a revolutionary contemporary of Mao Zedong and former leader Deng Xiaoping.

Over the past three decades, Bo rose to power as a city mayor, provincial governor, minister of commerce and member of the Politburo, the powerful policymaking body of the Communist Party.

A charismatic and urbane politician, Bo was credited with a spectacular, albeit brutal, crackdown on organized crime during his time as the top party official of Chongqing, a metropolis in southwestern China.

But when his deputy, Wang Lijun, walked into the U.S. Consulate in the city of Chengdu in February of last year and told American diplomats that Bo's wife, Gu Kailai, was an accomplice in a murder case, a glittering political career began to unravel.

Wang's move precipitated Bo's political demise. Soon after news of the events began to emerge, Bo was removed from his party posts.

A court found Gu guilty last year of murdering British businessman Neil Heywood in a Chongqing hotel room in 2011. A family employee, Zhang Xiaojun, was also convicted in the killing and sentenced to nine years in prison.

The following month, Wang was convicted of bending the law for selfish ends, defection, abuse of power and bribe-taking. He received a 15-year prison sentence.

Dispute over a villa

Bo's trial is seen as a potentially concluding chapter in the scandal.

Authorities haven't said how long it will last. But with only part of the charges addressed so far, it appears it could go on for longer than the two days some observers had predicted.

Some of the testimony Friday concerned accusations that Bo was complicit in a complex deal Gu carried out to buy a villa in Cannes, France.

A dispute over ownership of the villa resulted in a falling out with Heywood, Gu said.

In her video testimony, Gu said that Bo was aware that the purchase of the villa had been funded by Xu Ming, a businessman in the northeastern port city of Dalian, where Bo was once mayor.

But Bo contested her accusation that he knew how the villa was paid for and poured scorn on her reliability as a witness.

"What's the credibility of Gu Kailai's testimony? She has changed, she is insane, and she often tells lies," he said. "She has been under severe pressure from the investigators to turn me in."

Three indictments

Under the bribery indictment, prosecutors accuse Bo of using his political posts to secure influence for others. They say that between 2000 and 2012, Bo, Gu and their son, Bo Guagua, received about 22 million renminbi ($3.6 million) in bribes from Xu and another Dalian businessman, Tang Xiaolin.

The embezzlement charge alleges that Bo and Gu transferred 5 million renminbi of public money from a construction project in Dalian to a private account through a law firm in Beijing.

And the abuse of power indictment relates to Bo's actions after he was informed about his wife's involvement in the killing of Heywood and Wang's attempted defection to the United States.

CNN's David McKenzie and Steven Jiang reported from Jinan. Jethro Mullen wrote from Hong Kong. K.J. Kwon and Jaime A. FlorCruz in Beijing contributed to this report.

Carpentry Professionals
Calendar

Photo Gallery

Photos and slide shows of local events

The Skanner Report

repulsing the monkey