Rappler CEO pleads not guilty to tax evasion
MANILA • Journalist Maria Ressa, who runs Philippine news site Rappler, known for its tough scrutiny of President Rodrigo Duterte, yesterday pleaded not guilty to tax evasion charges, saying the case was politically motivated.
Ressa, 56, Rappler’s chief executive and a Time magazine Person of the Year in 2018 for fighting media intimidation, is facing several government lawsuits that have caused global concern over the harassment of journalists in the Philippines.
She was last month convicted of libel and given up to six years in jail, a ruling seen as a blow to democratic freedoms under Mr Duterte. She was freed on bail.
Her latest court appearance is over accusations that Rappler falsified tax returns.
Ardern sacks senior minister over affair
WELLINGTON • New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern yesterday sacked a senior Cabinet minister over an affair with a former staffer, amid heightened scrutiny on lawmakers’ behaviour ahead of a general election in September.
Ms Ardern dismissed Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway after discovering he had an affair with a former colleague who was working at a government organisation that reported to him.
She said Mr Lees-Galloway’s role as minister for workplace relations, which regulates employment conduct, made his position untenable.
Mr Lees-Galloway, who is married with three children, issued a statement admitting he acted “completely inappropriately”.
Man fined in buffaloes, gongs for insult in Sabah
KUALA LUMPUR • A Pakistani man has been fined eight buffaloes and eight gongs by a court in the Malaysian part of Borneo for insulting indigenous groups, an official said yesterday. Amir Ali Khan Nawatay, 50, was ordered to pay the fine by a native court in Sabah state after he pleaded guilty to making insulting comments about indigenous groups in May and June.
Kota Marudu district chief Baintin Adun said recordings of the businessman’s comments had gone viral online, causing anger. He said Amir had one month to pay the fine, or risked incurring a RM4,000 (S$1,300) fine or 16 months in jail, or both.
Buffaloes and gongs are seen as valuable in indigenous communities in Sabah.