UN Urges World to Address Surge in 'Risky' Attempts to Flee by Sea
The United Nations refugee agency says the world needs to better focus on responding to the hundreds of thousands of people making "risky" sea journeys in search of asylum or migration.
UNHCR chief Antonio Guterres is hosting a conference Wednesday and Thursday in Geneva to discuss rescues at sea, ways to encourage safer forms of migration and addressing the underlying causes of why people are fleeing their countries to begin with.
The agency says at least 348,000 people have tried to make sea crossings so far this year, a likely record, with 4,272 reported deaths.
The most dangerous routes have been across the Mediterranean Sea where more than 3,400 people have died in 2014. The area has seen a surge of activity with 207,000 people trying to make the trip, which the U.N. says is more than triple the previous high from 2011.
Former Senior Chinese Politician Gets Life in Prison for Bribery
A former top Chinese economic planning official has been convicted of bribery and sentenced to life in prison, becoming the latest high-profile figure to be brought down by China's anti-corruption campaign.
The official Xinhua news agency said Liu Tienan was found guilty of taking $5.8 million in bribes during his time as the deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic planning body.
The allegations against Liu first surfaced in December 2012 when a journalist at the Caijing investigative magazine posted the stories on his microblog.
Liu at first forcefully denied the charges. But at his trial in September, the 60-year-old was seen tearfully confessing to taking various bribes, including cash, a Porsche, and a luxury Beijing villa.
That Liu would be found guilty was never in doubt, since China's Communist Party-controlled courts have a conviction rate nearing 100 percent. But prosecutors had pleaded for leniency, arguing he had cooperated with investigators.
In the end, the sentence delivered Wednesday by a court north of the capital in Langfang was the maximum allowed for the crimes.
Liu, who also served as the director of the National Energy Administration, is one of more than 50 high-ranking officials to face charges under President Xi Jinping's anti-graft campaign. Many more low-level officials have been brought down.