Police say the man accused of the Christchurch mosque attacks will face 50 murder charges and 39 attempted murder charges at his court appearance on Friday. Australian Brenton Harrison Tarrant had been charged with one count of murder after his arrest the day of the March 15 massacre. Fifty people were killed in the two mosques and dozens of others were shot and wounded. Tarrant won't be required to enter a plea on Friday. The judge says the brief hearing will mainly be about Tarrant's legal representation. He has said he wants to represent himself.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — The man authorities believe carried out the Christchurch mosque attacks is due to make his second court appearance via video link on Friday, although media photographs won't be allowed and reporting on the proceedings will be severely restricted by New Zealand law. Fifty people died in the March 15 attacks on two mosques. Brenton Harrison Tarrant, 28, has been charged with one count of murder, and police plan to file more charges. Tarrant won't be required to enter a plea on Friday. Judge Cameron Mander said in a note that the brief hearing will mainly be about Tarrant's legal representation.
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia's Parliament passed legislation on Thursday that could imprison social media executives if their platforms stream violent images such as the New Zealand mosque shootings. Critics warn that some of the most restrictive laws about online communication in the democratic world could have unforeseen consequences, including media censorship and reduced investment in Australia. The conservative government introduced the bills in response to the March 15 attacks in Christchurch in which an Australian white supremacist apparently used a helmet-mounted camera to broadcast live as he shot worshippers in the two mosques. Australia's government rushed the legislation through the last two days that Parliament sits before elections are expected in May, dispensing with the usual procedure of a committee scrutinizing its content first.
TOKYO (AP) — Nissan's former Chairman Carlos Ghosn was arrested Thursday morning for a fourth time by Tokyo prosecutors investigating him for alleged financial misconduct while leading the Japanese automaker. Tokyo prosecutors said Ghosn's arrest was on suspicion he diverted $5 million from funds that were being relayed from a Nissan subsidiary to an overseas dealership. Their statement said the money is suspected of going to a company Ghosn virtually ran. Ghosn's whereabouts following his detention were unclear. TV footage showed officials entering Ghosn's apartment in Tokyo, and a car later going to the prosecutors' office, barely a month after Ghosn was released on bail from the earlier arrests.
BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand's ruling military junta has filed a complaint accusing the leader of a popular new political party of sedition and aiding criminals, a move he described as politically motivated. The party, Future Forward, ran a strong third in elections last month that were also contested by a pro-military party. Future Forward's leader, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, said he would report to police on Saturday to answer the summons against him. He could face up to nine years in prison. The summons did not specify what actions prompted the complaint. It said Thanathorn was accused of sedition for using words or writing "to raise unrest and disaffection amongst the people in a manner likely to cause disturbance in the country." Several criminal complaints and protests to the Election Commission have already been lodged against Thanathorn and his party.
SINGAPORE (AP) — New Islamic criminal laws that took effect Wednesday in Brunei that punish gay sex and adultery by stoning offenders to death have triggered an outcry from countries, rights groups and celebrities far beyond the tiny Southeast Asian nation's shores. The penalties were provided for under new sections of Brunei's Shariah Penal Code. Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah instituted the code in 2014 to bolster the influence of Islam in the oil-rich monarchy of around 430,000 people, two-thirds of whom are Muslim. Even before 2014, homosexuality was already punishable in Brunei by a jail term of up to 10 years. The first stage of the Shariah Penal Code included fines or jail for offenses such as pregnancy out of wedlock or failing to pray on Fridays.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak sat in the dock Wednesday at the start of his corruption trial, with the chief prosecutor alleging he wielded "near absolute power" for nearly a decade during which he stands accused of pilfering millions of dollars from the 1MDB state investment fund. "The accused is not above the law and his prosecution and this trial should serve as precedents for all future holders of this august office," Attorney General Tommy Thomas said in his opening statement. The trial was originally due to start in February but was delayed by procedural matters.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia's government said Wednesday that a luxury yacht allegedly bought with money stolen from a troubled state investment fund will be sold to casino operator Genting Berhad for $126 million, half its original price. Attorney General Tommy Thomas said the Admiralty Court on Wednesday approved the sale of the Equanimity, which has lavish amenities including a helicopter landing pad, plunge pool, gymnasium and a cinema. Genting will pay up by end of April, making it the "highest recovery to date" for the government from the scandal, he said in a statement. U.S. investigators say the $250 million yacht was bought with funds diverted from the 1MDB fund by fugitive Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low, believed to be a key figure in the theft and international laundering of $4.5 billion from 1MDB.
BEIJING (AP) — The former governor of the restive Xinjiang region has been formally arrested on accusations of taking bribes following a monthslong investigation, the government said Wednesday, showing no letup in President Xi Jinping's drive to bring the bureaucracy to heel. Nur Bekri, who most recently headed the National Energy Administration planning agency, will proceed to prosecution and almost certain conviction at trial. The nation's top prosecutor said the step was taken Tuesday after the combined Communist Party-government investigatory body had completed its work. Bekri has already been expelled from the party, stripping him of his last protection against prosecution.
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — An Australian senator was censured by his colleagues on Wednesday for seeking to blame the victims of last month's mosque shootings and vilify Muslims. Sen. Fraser Anning was the target of widespread condemnation for blaming the attack in New Zealand on immigration policies. He faced more criticism later for physically striking a teenager who cracked a raw egg on his head in a viral incident in Melbourne. On Parliament's second sitting day since the March 15 attack in which 50 people died, government and opposition lawmakers moved the censure motion against Anning for divisive comments "seeking to attribute blame to victims of a horrific crime and to vilify people on the basis of religion, which do not reflect the opinions of the Australian Senate or the Australian people." "Sen.