Chicago Tribune (Sunday)

Taiwanese president resigns as party leader after election defeats

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TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen resigned as head of the ruling Democratic Progressiv­e Party following local election losses on Saturday in which voters chose the opposition Nationalis­t party in several major races across the selfruled island.

Concerns about threats from rival China, which claims Taiwan as its territory, took a back seat to more local issues in the elections.

Tsai had spoken out many times about “opposing China and defending Taiwan” in the course of campaignin­g for her party. But the party’s candidate Chen Shih-chung, who lost his battle for mayor of Taipei, only raised the issue of the Chinese Communist Party’s threat a few times before he quickly switched back to local issues as there was little interest.

Tsai offered her resignatio­n on Saturday evening, a tradition after a major loss, in a short speech in which she also thanked supporters.

“I must shoulder all the responsibi­lity,” she said. “Faced with a result like this, there are many areas that we must deeply review.”

While internatio­nal observers and the ruling party have attempted to link the elections to the long-term existentia­l threat that is Taiwan’s neighbor, many local experts do not think China had a large role to play this time around.

“The internatio­nal community has raised the stakes too high. They’ve raised a local election to this internatio­nal level, and Taiwan’s survival,” said Yeh-lih Wang, a political science professor at National Taiwan University.

During campaignin­g, there were few mentions of the large-scale military exercises targeting Taiwan that China held in August in reaction to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit.

“So I think if you can’t even raise this issue in Taipei, you don’t even need to consider it in cities in the south,” Wang said.

Candidates from the Nationalis­t party won the mayoral seat in Taipei, Taiwan’s capital, as well as in Taoyuan, Taichung and New Taipei city.

Taiwanese were picking mayors, city council members and other local leaders in all 13 counties and in nine cities. There was also a referendum to lower the voting age from 20 to 18, which was defeated, according to local media.

Campaigns had resolutely focused on the local air pollution in the central city of Taichung, traffic snarls in Taipei’s tech hub Nangang, and the island’s COVID-19 vaccine purchasing strategies, which had left the island in short supply during an outbreak last year.

Iran protests: Iran’s supreme leader praised paramilita­ry volunteers tasked with quashing dissent on Saturday in a televised address.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei addressed members of the Basij, the volunteer paramilita­ry wing of the elite Revolution­ary Guard, and reiterated unsupporte­d claims that protesters demonstrat­ing countrywid­e are “tools” of the U.S. and its “mercenarie­s.”

The address, marking “Basij week” in Iran, echoed previous statements lambasting the protests as a foreign plot to destabiliz­e Iran.

The Basij have taken a leading role in clamping down on demonstrat­ions that began Sept. 17, ignited

by the death of a young woman while in the custody of Iran’s morality police.

tMahsa Amini’s death sparked months of protests over the country’s mandatory headscarf and became one of the greatest challenges to Iran’s theocracy since the chaotic years after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Jerusalem explosions: An Israeli man died Saturday from wounds he sustained in twin blasts that hit Jerusalem last week, bringing to two the number of dead in the explosions that Israeli police blamed on Palestinia­ns.

Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem announced that Tadesse Teshome Ben Madeh had died. He was critically wounded in one of the blasts at the city’s bus stops on Wednesday.

The first explosion occurred near a typically crowded bus stop on the edge of the city. The second went off about half an hour

later in Ramot, a settlement in the city’s north. One of the blasts immediatel­y killed Aryeh Schupak, 15, a dual Israeli Canadian national who was heading to a Jewish seminary.

No Palestinia­n group has claimed responsibi­lity for the Jerusalem explosions.

Syrian Kurds: The commander of the main U.S.-backed Kurdish-led forces in Syria said Saturday they have halted operations against the Islamic State group due to recent Turkish attacks on northern Syria.

Mazloum Abdi of the Syrian Democratic Forces said that after nearly a week of Turkish airstrikes on northern Syria, Ankara is preparing a ground offensive. He said Turkey-backed opposition fighters are getting ready to take part in the operations.

Abdi said Turkey is taking advantage of the deadly Nov. 13 bombing in Istanbul that Ankara blames on Kurdish groups. Kurdish organizati­ons

have denied any involvemen­t in the Istanbul attack that killed six and wounded dozens.

A federal judge has denied a new trial request by two men convicted of conspiring to kidnap Michigan’s Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Lawyers for Adam Fox and Barry Croft alleged misconduct by a juror and unfairness by U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker following their conviction by a federal jury in August.

Jonker in a written ruling Friday shot down claims of juror misconduct and said he found “no constituti­onal violation and no credible evidence” to convene a new hearing.

Fox and Croft face up to life in prison when they’re sentenced Dec. 28.

Two other men have pleaded guilty in the federal case, while two more were acquitted.

Three other men accused

Mich. governor plot:

of supporting terrorism in the kidnapping plot were convicted in October in state court.

Missouri execution: A federal judge has denied a request from a 19-year-old woman to allow her to watch her father’s death by injection, upholding a Missouri law that bars anyone under 21 from witnessing an execution.

Kevin Johnson is set to be executed Tuesday for killing Kirkwood, Missouri, Police Officer William McEntee in 2005. Johnson’s lawyers have appeals pending that seek to spare his life.

His daughter, Khorry Ramey, had sought to attend the execution, and the American Civil Liberties Union had filed an emergency motion with a federal court in Kansas City.

“I’m heartbroke­n that I won’t be able to be with my dad in his last moments,” Ramey said in a statement. “My dad is the most important person in my life.”

 ?? NARINDER NANU/GETTY-AFP ?? A devotee plays an instrument as he escorts Sikh holy men, known as Panj Pyare, during a procession to mark the martyrdom day of Guru Tegh Bahadur on Saturday at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, in India’s Punjab state. Tegh Bahadur, one of the faith’s founders, is said to have been executed in the late 17th century for refusing to convert to Islam.
NARINDER NANU/GETTY-AFP A devotee plays an instrument as he escorts Sikh holy men, known as Panj Pyare, during a procession to mark the martyrdom day of Guru Tegh Bahadur on Saturday at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, in India’s Punjab state. Tegh Bahadur, one of the faith’s founders, is said to have been executed in the late 17th century for refusing to convert to Islam.

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