XINGTAI, China – A Chinese court sentenced nine fentanyl traffickers Thursday in a case that is the culmination of a rare collaboration between Chinese and U.S. law enforcement to crack down on global networks that manufacture and distribute lethal synthetic opioids.
Liu Yong was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve, while Jiang Juhua and Wang Fengxi were sentenced to life in prison. Six other members of the operation received lesser sentences, ranging from six months to 10 years. Death sentences are usually commuted to life in prison after the reprieve.
Working off a 2017 tip from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security about an online drug vendor who went by the name Diana, Chinese police busted a drug ring in the northern Chinese city of Xingtai that shipped synthetic drugs illicitly to the U.S. and other countries from a gritty clandestine laboratory. They arrested more than 20 suspects and seized 26 pounds of fentanyl and 42 pounds of other drugs.
At least 5 dead in Iran earthquake
A magnitude 5.9 earthquake struck northwestern Iran early today, killing at least five people and injuring 120 others, officials said.
The temblor struck Tark county in Iran's Eastern Azerbaijan province at 2:17 a.m. local time, Iran's seismological center said.
A series of magnitude 4 aftershocks rattle the region following the temblor. Those living in the region rushed out of their homes in fear.
The head of Iran's emergency medical services, Pirhossein Koulivand, gave the casualty figures to state television. Rescuers have been dispatched to the region, officials said. It wasn't clear how extensive damage was.
Labour aide calls leader anti-Semitic
The long-festering issue of anti-Semitism in Labour Party ranks is coming back to haunt Jeremy Corbyn in the first days of his election campaign to unseat Prime Minister Boris Johnson and take up residence at 10 Downing St.
Ian Austin, a close aide to Gordon Brown, the Labour Party's last prime minister, said the party has been poisoned by “anti-Jewish racism” under Corbyn. On Thursday, he urged “decent, traditional, patriotic Labour voters” to vote for Johnson and the Conservatives rather than let Corbyn take power in the Dec. 12 election.
The Jewish Chronicle weekly newspaper said its polling indicated that nearly half of Britain's Jews would “seriously consider” leaving the country if Corbyn becomes prime minister.
Corbyn denied the allegations, saying that “anti-Semitism is a poison and an evil in our society” and that he was working to root it out of the Labour Party.
Inmates plan riot outside to foil raid
As 850 Mexican local, state and federal security personnel prepared to raid a massive state prison near the U.S. border, criminals inside orchestrated a wave of chaos outside the prison walls in Ciudad Juarez.
Ten people were murdered in various incidents around the city Tuesday night and early Wednesday as criminals tried to create a diversion or pressure authorities to stop the raid, authorities said. “At least eight of these murders were tied to the diversion issue,” said Jorge Nava, Chihuahua state prosecutor.
Four men who were arrested in the violence said they were paid in methamphetamine to wreak havoc, Nava said in a news conference Wednesday. They burned 10 buses, including one transporting assembly plant workers, and five private vehicles. Some of the workers suffered burns trying to escape the bus.
Congolese warlord handed 30 years
The International Criminal Court passed its highest-ever sentence Thursday, sending a Congolese warlord known as “The Terminator” to prison for 30 years for crimes including murder, rape and sexual slavery.
Bosco Ntaganda was found guilty in July of 18 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role as a military commander in atrocities during a bloody ethnic conflict in a mineral-rich region of Congo in 2002-03. The court's maximum sentence is 30 years, although judges also have the discretion to impose a life sentence. Lawyers representing victims had called for a life term.
Ntaganda, who has insisted he is innocent, became a symbol of widespread impunity in Africa in the seven-odd years between first being indicted by the global court and finally turning himself in in 2013 as his power base fell apart.
Macron says NATO faces 'brain death'
French President Emmanuel Macron claimed that a lack of U.S. leadership is causing the “brain death” of the NATO military alliance, insisting in an interview published Thursday that the European Union must step up and start acting as a strategic world power.
Macron's criticism of the state of the world's biggest military alliance was rejected by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, setting up a possible showdown in London next month when President Donald Trump joins the leaders.
UN again rebukes embargo of Cuba
The U.N. General Assembly voted 187-3 Thursday to condemn the American economic embargo of Cuba for the 28th year, rejecting U.S. criticism of human rights violations there and criticizing the Trump administration's increasingly tough enforcement measures.
The U.S., Israel and Brazil voted no and Colombia and Ukraine abstained.
General Assembly resolutions are not legally binding and are unenforceable, but they reflect world opinion and the vote has given Cuba an annual stage to demonstrate the isolation of the U.S. on the embargo.