The government machinery pounced swiftly.

Ten of the signatories were detained on Monday, and another four were ordered to report to the police but were not jailed in view of their advanced years. Mr. Erdogan accused them of plotting a coup, a toxic allegation after four years of thousands of detentions and purges since the last failed coup. Some saw that as a warning to serving officers who might have similar thoughts.

Mr. Erdogan had “got his groove back” Steven A. Cook, a senior fellow for Middle East and Africa Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, wrote in an analysis.

The admirals’ letter did not come out of the blue. A year earlier, 126 retired Turkish diplomats had penned an open letter warning against withdrawing from the convention. The debate reveals the deep divisions between secularists and Islamists that have been tearing Turkey apart since Mr. Erdogan’s rise to power in 2002.

Caught up in their own dislike of the secular republic that replaced the Ottoman Empire, the Islamists distrust the Montreux Convention, said Asli Aydintasbas, a senior fellow with the European Council on Foreign Relations. That was an erroneous reading of history, she added, but Mr. Erdogan feels that the convention needs “to be modernized to meet Turkey’s new coveted role as a regional heavyweight.”

Secularists, as well as most Turkish diplomats and foreign policy experts, see the Montreux Convention as a win for Turkey and fundamental to Turkish independence and to stability in the region.

Russia would have most to lose from a change in the treaty, said Serhat Guvenc, a professor of international relations at Kadir Has University in Istanbul, although any alteration or break up of the convention seems inconceivable, since it would demand consensus from the multiple signatories.

“Russia would resent it and be provoked,” he said. The United States and China would gain, since neither currently is allowed to move large warships or aircraft carriers into the Black Sea.

Most analysts said that Mr. Erdogan and his advisers knew the impossibility of changing the Montreux Convention, but that the veteran politician is using the issue to kick up a storm.

“It is the government’s way of lobbying for the canal,” Ms. Aydintasbas said. “Erdogan is adamant about building a channel parallel to the Bosporus, and one of the government’s arguments will likely be that this new strait allows Turkey to have full sovereignty — as opposed to the free passage of Montreux.”

That interpretation is both inaccurate and dangerous, she said. “Inaccurate because as long as Montreux is there, no vessel is obliged to use the new canal. Dangerous because it could aggravate the Russians and the international community.”

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Ashraf Ghani, Afghanistan’s President, Has Little Sway Over Its Future

KABUL, Afghanistan — He attends international conferences, meets with diplomats, recently inaugurated a dam and delivers patriotic speeches vowing to defend his country against the Taliban.

But how much control President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan has over his imperiled country’s future and his own has become a matter of debate among politicians, analysts and citizens. Or rather, the question has been largely resolved: not much.

From most vantage points, Mr. Ghani — well qualified for his job and deeply credentialed, with Johns Hopkins, Berkeley, Columbia, the World Bank and the United Nations in his background — is thoroughly isolated. A serious author with a first-class intellect, he is dependent on the counsel of a handful, unwilling to even watch television news, those who know him say, and losing allies fast.

That spells trouble for a country where a hard-line Islamist insurgency has the upper hand militarily, where nearly half the population faces hunger at crisis levels, according to the United Nations, where the overwhelming balance of government money comes from abroad and where weak governance and widespread corruption are endemic.

recent letter to him from Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken was so harsh that even Afghans critical of Mr. Ghani found it insulting.

In language more likely to be used with an unruly schoolboy than a head of state, the letter repeated the phrase “I urge you” three times. “I must also make clear to you, Mr. President,” Mr. Blinken continued, “that as our policy process continues in Washington, the United States has not ruled out any option.” The unspoken subtext was clear: Your influence is minimal.

“As an Afghan, a sense of humiliation comes over you,” said Hekmat Khalil Karzai, the head of an Afghan think tank and a cousin of the former president, Hamid Karzai. “But I also feel Ghani deserves it,” Mr. Karzai said. “He’s dealing with the kiss of death from his own closest partner.”

The Biden administration is banking on multinational talks, tentatively set for later this month in Istanbul, to establish a plan for moving forward. At the heart of the U.S. proposal is a temporary government to hold power until elections can be held.

In this interim body, the Taliban and the current government would share power, according to a leaked draft. Such a setup could require Mr. Ghani to step down, a move he has repeatedly refused to consider.

Mr. Ghani has come up with a counterproposal that he plans to release soon, which calls for a cease-fire, a temporary “government of peace” whose potential makeup remains unclear, and then early elections in which he promises not to run.

Both the American plan and Mr. Ghani’s could be non-starters, as the Taliban have never said they would agree to elections, nor have they indicated that they would go along with any sort of government plan or be content with power-sharing.

“From what we’re seeing, they want absolute power, and they are waiting to take power by force,” Mr. Ghani’s national security adviser, Hamdullah Mohib, said in an interview.

While Mr. Ghani is steadily losing political capital in Kabul and with international partners, the country’s military position is deteriorating. Each day brings news of security force members blown up or gunned down.

“They can’t keep doing that,” said a senior Western diplomat in Kabul, commenting on the steady attrition. “The toll on the government, and the credibility and legitimacy it has, it’s not sustainable.”

Visions of September 1996, when the Taliban rolled into Kabul virtually unopposed and proceeded to establish their harsh regime, haunt the capital.

Deep inside the presidential palace compound, an 83-acre parklike campus protected by seven layers of security, Mr. Ghani’s inner circle of close aides is small and shrinking. He fired his respected interior minister, an army general, after a military helicopter was shot down by one of the country’s numerous militias last month. His attorney general, who had a rare reputation for integrity, stepped down. He pushed out his short-tenured finance minister.

One senior former official argued that he was cut off from reality and what is going on on the ground.

Mr. Mohib, however, pushed back on this assessment. “This criticism comes from a political elite which thinks it has been marginalized,” he said.

Some former officials characterized Mr. Ghani as being compelled to micromanage, including involving himself in the details of military matters and personnel decisions even down to the local police chief level. “He likes that, because he feels he’s the only one,” said Mr. Karzai, meaning the only one competent to make serious decisions.

Mr. Mohib called the micromanagement accusation “a huge exaggeration,” saying that the president had not attended a security meeting “in weeks,” adding that “he is aware of the strategic picture.”

Mr. Ghani’s communications office did not agree to a request for an interview with the president. A senior aide did not respond to an interview request.

The consequences of Mr. Ghani’s isolation appear to be unfolding in real time. The president has a potent vision for the country, but selling it and making it work politically is not his strong suit, and it shows up in the nation’s divisions, said the senior Western diplomat in Kabul. That’s not good for Afghan unity, the diplomat argued.

These divisions echo out from Kabul into the country’s fractious regions, where independent militias and other longstanding power-brokers have either rearmed themselves or are preparing to do so.

In the center of the country, a low-intensity fight between government forces and the militia of a minority Shiite warlord has been smoldering for months, fueled by the downing of an Afghan forces helicopter in March. Mr. Ghani and his aides have taken an active role in managing the conflict, to the dismay of the Afghan military.

“This is what we wanted to avoid. We are already stretched,” said a senior Afghan security official. “And here, you want to start another war?”

The upcoming talks in Turkey could well end up like the recent ones in Moscow and Dushanbe, Tajikistan — with bland communiqués deploring violence and hoping for peace. The American idea — to substitute new talks in a new locale for the old talks in Qatar that have gone nowhere — is not necessarily a winning bet. Indeed, the early signs are not promising, with Mr. Ghani once again rejecting preliminary American proposals, and the Taliban aggressively noncommittal about the ideas currently on the table.

“If the U.S. pulls out, and there is no political agreement, then we are in deep trouble,” said the senior Afghan security official.

“Militarily, we don’t have much hope,” he said. “If we don’t get something, the Taliban are going to march. It’s going to be a severe battle.”

Fahim Abed contributed reporting.

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Are Your Illegal Drugs Pure? New Zealand Will Check Them for You.

According to the most recent data from the Ministry of Health, around 9 percent of New Zealanders have used an illicit drug in the past year, with cannabis the most popular. Synthetic cannabis is a common problem, with more than 40 deaths associated with the drug reported in 2018. (The country narrowly voted against legalizing marijuana in a referendum last year.) Drugs are the third most common reason young people are kicked out of school.

While New Zealand has long struggled with methamphetamine abuse, party drugs are increasingly common. In 2019, the New Zealand police seized more than two million Ecstasy tablets and their equivalents, up 560 percent from 2018.

It is these party drugs in particular that have resulted in injury or death, sometimes as a result of people taking mislabeled or contaminated drugs. This year, KnowYourStuff received almost 1,000 messages from festivalgoers who reported atypical reactions to drugs sold to them as MDMA, including paranoia, seizures, severe nausea and days of insomnia. The drugs are believed to have been contaminated with synthetic cathinones.

Speaking in Parliament last year, Andrew Little, the minister of health, emphasized that the current New Zealand government saw drug policy as a health matter rather than a criminal one.

A prosecution-led approach has not worked, he said, adding: “It’s not changing. If we want to change behaviors, then we’ve got to take a different approach.”

The data is spotty, but promising.

A survey from Victoria University found that 68 percent of surveyed festivalgoers who used the testing services changed their behavior, with some reducing the amount they took while others disposed of their drugs altogether.

A similar study held at a festival in Canberra, Australia, in 2019 found that “all those who had a very dangerous substance detected disposed of that drug in the amnesty bin.”

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‘The Start of a Comeback’ in 5 U.S. Cities

As Covid-19 vaccinations have picked up and more businesses reopen across the country, Easter weekend saw a resurgence of tourist activity in some cities, perhaps indicating a turning point for the struggling tourism industry.

Chip Rogers, the president and chief operating officer for the American Hotel & Lodging Association, the trade organization for the hospitality industry, said that before last weekend, recovery had been “very regionalized,” with places like Florida and Texas doing well and “cities that thrive on large meetings and conventions like a Chicago, Orlando, Las Vegas” struggling to recover.

“You’re seeing really good pickup over the weekend dates, which have now extended. Traditionally they’re Friday to Sunday, now it’s Thursday to Monday,” he said, referring to the increase in leisure travel. But the lack of business travel means weekday bookings continue to lag. Still, he added, there’s reason for “cautious optimism.”

But travelers, even those who are fully vaccinated, should practice caution while visiting some states, health experts warn. Case numbers are going up in some popular destinations, like Florida, which saw a spike as revelers flocked there during spring break. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still recommends that people continue to wear masks, social distance and frequently wash their hands, even though some local governments have relaxed or lifted these rules.

Mila Miami, a restaurant in Miami Beach, many have traveled from out of state for extended stays — particularly from places like Los Angeles, New York and Chicago — which he said “has enabled the business to pick up customers that we wouldn’t have.”

This influx proved problematic over spring break, when police officers in riot gear used pepper balls to enforce an emergency curfew and disperse revelers ignoring social distancing and mask regulations.

During the weekend of March 28 to April 3, Miami “saw its highest occupancy level since the start of the pandemic, with most hotels reporting upward of 75 percent occupancy levels,” said Suzie Sponder, a spokeswoman for the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau. That’s only a 6.6 percent drop from the same weekend in 2019.

Ms. Sponder added that the average room rate for the weekend was $282.29, up 25 percent from 2019. And Mr. Rogers, of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, said that revenue, which is still down across the board, is the best indicator of the industry’s recovery, noting that Miami’s strong numbers are the exception rather than the rule.

In the tourism industry, “you still have a lot of folks that are out of work,” he said, “because it’s those large, city center urban hotels that employ the most people, because they have those extensive food and beverage operations that are not working right now. That’s where most job loss is occurring.”

Circa Resort & Casino. “It’s like trying to book a dinner reservation on New Year’s Eve. It’s not something you do the day before.” Spots at the pools at his establishments, which include two other hotels, are booked a month in advance because of reduced capacity limits and social distancing, which he said shows that there is demand for leisure travel. Hotels and other venues in the city are limited to 50 percent capacity.

Though the weekend of Easter is, historically, the second slowest weekend in the city, this year was different because of March Madness, the annual N.C.A.A. basketball tournaments. “Everything was packed to the restricted capacity level,” he said. “On Saturday, all of our venues were filled by 10 a.m. because of Final Four. I think that was the case throughout all of Las Vegas.”

Mr. Stevens said that since the Super Bowl, in February, there have been indications that the tourism industry in Vegas is recovering, adding that his three hotels have been sold out every weekend since. “I’ve never seen booking at the rate of what we’ve seen in the past three months or so. This is the strongest booking that I’ve ever experienced,” he said.

But there continues to be a dip during weekdays because of the lack of conferences or conventions. “What we’re seeing is enormous pent-up demand for leisure travel that while it’s going to take place throughout the entire summer, does not necessarily mean that business travel will follow suit,” he said.

NewOrleans.com planning a trip in the next three months. Ms. Schulz notes that she is “optimistic about the fourth quarter of 2021 with a convention and festival schedule.”

Though leisure travel over the summer is expected to keep the industry afloat, Mr. Rogers said business travel will need to pick back up in order to restore the industry to 2019 levels.

“While we’re optimistic, what we’re fearful of and concerned about is, what happens post-Labor Day when all of this leisure travel has passed?” he said. Business travel, he said, “is absolutely necessary if we’re going to survive.”

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Afghan War Casualty Report: April 2021

The following report compiles all significant security incidents confirmed by New York Times reporters throughout Afghanistan for the month. It is necessarily incomplete as many local officials refuse to confirm casualty information. The report includes government claims of insurgent casualty figures, but in most cases these cannot be independently verified by The Times. Similarly, the reports do not include Taliban claims for their attacks on the government unless they can be verified. Both sides routinely inflate casualty totals for their opponents.

At least 64 pro-government forces and 17 civilians were killed in Afghanistan the past week. The deadliest attack took place in Helmand Province, where the Taliban attacked a military base called Waziromanda near Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital, killing 10 soldiers and taking 12 others prisoner. Insurgents captured the base and seized all weapons and equipment. In another incident in Helmand, a car bomb targeted a police outpost in Nawa District, killing eight soldiers and wounding 12 others. In Baghlan Province, a military convoy was attacked by the Taliban in the Hajda Kotal area of Dahana-e-Ghori District, killing five soldiers and wounding four others.

[Read the Afghan War Casualty Report from previous weeks.]

April 8 Herat Province: one civilian killed

One civilian was killed and another was wounded in an attack by unknown gunmen in the Second Police District of Herat city, the provincial capital.

April 7 Herat Province: one police officer killed

A police officer was shot and killed by unknown gunmen in the center of Karokh District.

April 7 Baghlan Province: four police officers killed

The Taliban attacked a security outpost in Pul-i-Khumri city, the provincial capital, killing four police officers and wounding three others.

April 7 Badghis Province: one police officer killed

The Taliban shot and killed a police officer in the village of Pir-e-Ghaibi of Qadis District.

April 7 Herat Province: three security forces killed

Three members of a pro-government militia were killed and another went missing after a Taliban attack on a security outpost in the center of Pashtun Zarghun District. An additional five militia members were taken prisoner by insurgents.

April 7 Baghlan Province: five soldiers killed

The Taliban attacked a military convoy in the Hajda Kotal area of Dahan-e-Ghori District, killing five soldiers and wounding four others.

April 7 Baghlan Province: one police officer killed

The Taliban attacked a military base in Eshkamish District, killing one police officer and wounding four others.

April 7 Takhar Province: five police officers killed

Five police officers, including a company commander, were killed and eight others were wounded during a Taliban attack in the Khwaja Band Kashan village in Ishkamish District.

April 7 Kabul Province: one civilian killed

The head of the service department in the National Statistics and Information Authority was shot and killed by unknown gunmen in Qala-e-Wazir area of Paghman District. Police have launched an investigation.

April 7 Nangarhar Province: two civilians killed

A roadside bomb exploded near a police vehicle in the Second Police District of Jalalabad, the provincial capital, killing two civilians and wounding three police officers and 15 civilians.

April 6 Kunduz Province: four police officers killed

Four police officers were killed and three others were taken prisoner in a Taliban attack in the Fifth Police District of Kunduz city, the provincial capital.

April 6 Kunduz Province: one commando killed

One Afghan commando was killed and three others were wounded in the Ostaming village of Imam Sahib District during a military operation.

April 6 Badghis Province: one civilian killed

The Taliban shot and killed a former police officer in the village of Kanaqol in Aab Kamari District.

April 6 Badghis Province: one soldier killed

One soldier was shot and killed by the Taliban in the village of Shotor Gardan in Qala-e-Naw, the provincial capital.

April 6 Kabul Province: one police officer killed

Unknown gunmen shot and killed a police officer in Baghlan District. The attackers managed to escape from the area.

April 6 Kandahar Province: one civilian killed

A motorcycle was hit by a roadside bomb in the center of Panjwai District, killing one civilian.

April 6 Kandahar Province: four civilians killed

A passenger bus was hit by a roadside bomb in Maiwand District, on the highway connecting Kandahar to Kabul, killing four civilians and wounding 13 others.

April 6 Nangarhar Province: four police officers killed

The Taliban attacked a security outpost in Ghazi Baba area of Surkh Rod District, killing four police officers and seizing their weapons. Local authorities claimed that nine Taliban fighters were also killed in the clashes.

April 5 Ghor Province: one soldier killed

The Taliban attacked a military convoy in the village of Kharistan in Firoz Koh, the provincial capital. One soldier was killed in the clashes. Local authorities claimed that two Taliban fighters were also killed.

April 5 Helmand Province: 10 soldiers killed

The Taliban attacked a military base called Waziromanda near Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital, killing 10 soldiers and taking 12 others prisoner. Insurgents captured the base and seized all weapons and equipment.

April 5 Helmand Province: eight police officers killed

A car bomb targeted a police outpost in Nawa District, killing eight soldiers and wounding 12 others.

April 5 Herat Province: four soldiers killed

The Taliban attacked a security outpost in the village of Jou-e-Qazi of Shindand District, where fighting continued for several hours. Four soldiers were killed and three others were wounded in the battle. An additional six soldiers were taken prisoner by the Taliban.

April 5 Kabul Province: one security force killed

A military truck was hit by a roadside bomb in Sabz Sang area of Qarabagh District, killing one member of the territorial army and wounding four others.

April 4 Kabul Province: three security forces killed

The Taliban targeted a military convoy with a car bomb in Panja Chenar area of Paghman District, killing three security force members and wounding 12 others.

April 4 Herat Province: one police officer killed

The Taliban attacked a security outpost in the village of Rood-e-Gaz in Adraskan District, killing one police officer and taking three others prisoner.

April 4 Kabul Province: one soldier killed

An army truck was hit by a roadside bomb in Qargha area of Paghman District, killing one soldier and wounding three others.

April 3 Takhar Province: one civilian killed

Unknown gunmen shot and killed the son of Juma Khan, a member of the provincial council in the Pole-e-shahrawan area of Taloqan, the provincial capital. The attacker was able to flee from the area.

April 3 Kunar Province: four soldiers killed

The Taliban attacked two security outposts in the Gulsalk area of Chapa Dara District, killing four soldiers and taking four others prisoner. Two soldiers are missing. The Taliban captured one of the security outposts and burned it down. A Humvee was also blown up by a bomb.

April 2 Helmand Province: six civilians killed

A vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb in Sarkar area of Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital, killing six civilians.


Reporting was contributed by Najim Rahim and Fatima Faizi from Kabul, Zabihullah Ghazi from Jalalabad, Farooq Jan Mangal from Khost, Taimoor Shah from Kandahar and Asadullah Timoory from Herat.

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Northern Ireland Sees Spasm of Violence as Old Tensions Resurface

LONDON — A bus hijacked, pelted with stones, then set on fire. Masked youths rioting, hurling missiles and homemade bombs. A press photographer attacked on the streets.

For almost a week, scenes of violence familiar from Northern Ireland’s brutal past have returned in a stark warning of the fragility of a peace process, crafted more than two decades ago, that is under growing political and sectarian strain.

Amid a contested fallout from Brexit, politicians have pointed to different causes for an explosion of anger from parts of the Protestant, so-called Unionist or Loyalist, community that is determined to keep its link to the rest of the United Kingdom.

But analysts agree that six consecutive nights of violence, during which 55 police officers have been injured and 10 arrests made, mark a worrisome trend.

Britain completed the final stages of Brexit on Jan. 1. That ended a system under which companies in Northern Ireland shared the same trade rules as those of Ireland, which remains part of the European Union.

During the interminable Brexit negotiations, much energy was devoted to preventing the need for checks on goods at Northern Ireland’s highly sensitive land border with Ireland.

Under an agreement in a protocol struck by Mr. Johnson, Northern Ireland was given a special economic status that leaves it straddling the United Kingdom and the European Union trade systems.

suspend the protocol by triggering an emergency mechanism in a dispute over vaccine supplies. Though the British government had also threatened to break the treaty over a separate issue — and the European Union reversed its decision within hours — that united Unionists in anger.

“Those few hours on Jan. 29 changed everything,” said Professor Hayward, who added that the decision from Brussels encapsulated Unionist suspicions about the protocol and shifted senior politicians away from grudging acceptance of it to outright opposition.

With Unionist support for the protocol disappearing, faith in the police in question, and friction over Brexit between the British and Irish governments, calming the violence could prove hard.

“In the past these things have been mitigated by very careful, well-supported, actions by community workers on the ground, bolstered by the political environment and rhetoric and demonstrations of the success of peace at the very highest levels — including the British-Irish relationship,” said Professor Hayward.

“You look around now,” she added, “and think: all those things are really under pressure.”

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Outcry in Pakistan After Imran Khan Links Rape to How Women Dress

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — An outcry has erupted in Pakistan after Prime Minister Imran Khan blamed a rise in rape cases on how women dressed, remarks that activists denounced as perpetuating a culture of victim blaming.

Mr. Khan made the comments on a live television show earlier this week when he was asked what the government was doing to curb an increase in sexual violence against women and children. Mr. Khan acknowledged the seriousness of the problem and pointed to the country’s strict laws against rape.

But, he said, women had to do their part.

“What is the concept of purdah?” he said, using a term that refers to the practice of seclusion, veiling or concealing dress for women in some South Asian communities. “It is to stop temptation. Not every man has willpower. If you keep on increasing vulgarity, it will have consequences.”

The uproar was swift.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, an independent group, demanded Mr. Khan apologize for his remarks, which it called “unacceptable behavior on the part of a public leader.”

chemical castration.

There are few reliable statistics on rape in Pakistan, but rights activists say it is a severely underreported crime, in part because victims are often treated as criminals or blamed for the assaults. Thousands of protesters took to the streets last year after a top police official in the eastern city of Lahore said that a woman who was raped on a deserted highway was partly to blame for the attack.

not how women dress!” she wrote in one post. In another, she said that she hoped that Mr. Khan had been misquoted because the man she knew had different opinions.

entered politics, and has been accused of being overly sympathetic to the Taliban in recent years.

To women’s rights activists, Mr. Khan’s comments this week were only the latest example of the challenge they face in finding support for their causes in the deeply conservative society. Organizers of women’s rights marches on International Women’s Day last month have said they have been accused of “vulgarity” for seeking equal rights.

“It’s already tremendously challenging for women of all ages in public spaces in Pakistan, whether on the streets or at work or in the digital space, even in their own homes,” said Ms. Sukhera, the author in Lahore. “Regressive preaching prevents women from reclaiming what’s rightfully theirs, and must be addressed.”

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South Korean Man Gets 34 Years for Running Sexual Exploitation Chat Room

SEOUL — A South Korean man was sentenced to 34 years in prison on Thursday as part of the country’s crackdown on an infamous network of online chat rooms that lured young women, including minors, with promises of high-paying jobs before forcing them into pornography.

The man, Moon Hyeong-wook, opened one of the first such sites in 2015, prosecutors said. Mr. Moon, 25, operated a clandestine members-only chat room under the nickname “GodGod” on the Telegram messenger app, offering more than 3,700 clips of illicit pornography, they said.

Mr. Moon, an architecture major who was expelled from his college after his arrest last year, was one of the most notorious of the hundreds of people the police have arrested in the course of their investigation. Another chat room operator, a man named Cho Joo-bin, was sentenced to 40 years in prison last November.

“The accused inflicted irreparable damage on his victims through his anti-society crime that undermined human dignity,” the presiding judge, Cho Soon-pyo,​ said of Mr. Moon in his ruling on Thursday.​ The trial took place in a district court in the city of Andong in central South Korea​.

Mr. Moon was indicted in June on charges​ of forcing 21 young women, including minors, into ​making ​sexually explicit videos between 2017 and early last year.​

He ​approached young women looking for high-paying jobs through social media platforms​, then lured them into making sexually explicit videos, promising big payouts​, prosecutors said​.​ He also hacked into the online accounts of women who uploaded sexually explicit content, pretending to be a police officer investigating pornography.

​Once he got hold of the images and personal data, he used them to blackmail the women, threatening to send the clips to their parents unless the victims supplied more footage, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors demanded a life sentence for Mr. Moon.

Last December, the police said​ they had investigated 3,500 suspects, most of them men in their 20s or teenagers, as part of their investigation of the online chat rooms that served as avenues for sexual exploitation and pornographic distribution​. They arrested 245 of them.

The police also identified 1,100 victims.

The ​scandal, known in South Korea as “the Nth Room Case,” caused outrage over the cruel exploitation of the young women​. Women’s rights groups picketed courthouses where chat room operators were on trial, accusing judges of condoning sex crimes by handing down what they considered light punishments.

On Thursday, outside the Andong courthouse, advocates held a rally demanding the maximum punishment for Mr. Moon.

In recent years, the South Korean police began cracking down on sexually explicit file-sharing websites as part of international efforts to fight child pornography. As smartphones proliferated, ​they soon realized that much of the illegal trade was migrating to online chat rooms on messaging services like Telegram.

The police said they had trouble tracking down customers of the online chat rooms because they often used cryptocurrency payments to avoid being caught.

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Myanmar’s Ambassador to the U.K. Was Locked Out of London Embassy

LONDON — Myanmar’s ambassador to Britain, Kyaw Zwar Minn, was locked out of his own embassy on Wednesday, apparently in retaliation for criticizing the country’s military, which seized power in February and has since launched a bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protesters.

In a statement, Britain’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said that it was “seeking further information” following the episode, which drew a small crowd of protesters outside the Myanmar Embassy in London.

“I have been locked out,” the ambassador told the Reuters news agency, calling the actions of diplomatic colleagues who prevented him from entering the building as a “kind of coup in the middle of London.”

Diplomatic sources confirmed that he had been excluded from the embassy and British media reports suggested that the ambassador’s deputy, Chit Win, had taken charge of the building with the help of a military attaché.

no longer represented the country.

On Wednesday, London’s Metropolitan Police confirmed that a protest had taken place outside the Myanmar Embassy and that officers were on the scene to keep order, but said that no arrests had been made.

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Myanmar Envoy Who Critiqued Coup Is Locked Out of London Embassy

LONDON — Myanmar’s ambassador to Britain, Kyaw Zwar Minn, was locked out of his own embassy on Wednesday, apparently in retaliation for criticizing the country’s military, which seized power in February and has since launched a bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protesters.

In a statement, Britain’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said that it was a “seeking further information” following the episode, which drew a small crowd of protesters outside the Myanmar Embassy in London.

“I have been locked out,” the ambassador told the Reuters news agency, calling the actions of diplomatic colleagues who prevented him from entering the building as a “kind of coup in the middle of London.”

Diplomatic sources confirmed that he had been excluded from the embassy and British media reports suggested that the ambassador’s deputy, Chit Win, had taken charge of the building with the help of a military attaché.

no longer represented the country.

On Wednesday, London’s Metropolitan Police confirmed that a protest had taken place outside the Myanmar Embassy and that officers were on the scene to keep order, but said that no arrests had been made.

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