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AFP
May 25, 2018

Ukraine bans Russian news agency

AFP
May 25, 2018

KIEV: Ukraine on Thursday banned Russia’s state-run RIA Novosti news agency, a week after one of its journalists was detained in Kiev and accused of treason.

According to the new sanctions list of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine (NSDC), the RIA Novosti office as well as the Interselekt company which carried out all the agency’s economic activities in Kiev are banned for three years. Sanctions include the blocking of assets, limiting or stopping the provision of telecommunications services, and blocking access to the website www.rian.com.ua.

The director of the public media conglomerate Rossiya Segodnya, parent company of RIA Novosti, said the new sanctions were "an indicator of impotence" of the current Ukrainian "regime".

"It has nothing left to do, but to pursue its own citizens, to persecute journalists, to pursue freedom of speech, to ban respected media," Dmitry Kiselev was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti. On May 17, Ukrainian court ruled Vyshynsky should be held in detention until his trial.

Malaysian court sentences Australian woman to death for drugtrafficking

Ag Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR: A Malaysian court on Thursday sentenced to death by hanging an Australian mother of three, for trafficking more than a kilogram of crystal methamphetamine into the Southeast Asian nation, but her lawyer said she was appealing.

Prosecutors had sought the appeals court conviction, which overturned the earlier acquittal of Maria Exposto, 54, of charges of smuggling the drugs in a backpack in Dec 2014, after she said she was duped in an online scam.

Tania Scivetti, a lawyer representing Exposto, who hails from Sydney, said her team had filed an appeal in a federal court. "We are extremely disappointed," Scivetti told Reuters by text message. "Maria is a victim of an internet romance scam. She is not a drug trafficker."

Exposto, arrested in Kuala Lumpur while in transit to Melbourne from Shanghai, has said she was decoyed into carrying the bag with the drugs by a friend of her online boyfriend, who claimed to be a US soldier serving in Afghanistan. Malaysia, like other countries in Southeast Asia, imposes harsh penalties for drug offences.

Late last year, parliament voted to remove the death penalty as mandatory punishment for drug trafficking, and leave it to judges’ discretion instead. Malaysia has executed three Australian nationals for drug trafficking in the past 30 years, leading to brief strains in diplomatic ties between the two countries.