Samsung Leader Prison Sentences Suspended

South Korea's Court of Appeal has suspended prison sentences imposed against billionaire heirs of Samsung Electronics giant Lee Jae-yong and ordered his immediate release from prison on Monday.

Seoul District Court initially sentenced Lee the 49-year-old was five years in prison in August for bribery in connection with the scandal that toppled the country's president Park Geun-hye.

The appeals court on Monday canceled several sentences and reduced the remaining prison sentence to two and a half years experiments.

Four other Samsung leaders who were sentenced with Lee also received a reduction in sentence, and two others previously imprisoned also suspended their sentence.

The case stems from Samsung's payout to Park's close friend Choi Soon- Sil, the payment accused by the prosecutor is intended to obtain government treatment which benefits Samsung's leader Lee Jae-yong.

Lee pleaded not guilty to allegations that he used Samsung company funds to bribe Park.

He was also found guilty of other offenses, among other things, embezzlement , money laundering, hiding assets abroad and lying to parliament. [gp]

Return of Rohingya Muslim Refugees to Myanmar Suspended

The gradual return of Rohingya Muslim refugees to Myanmar from Bangladesh has been suspended.

Originally repatriation will begin on Tuesday (23/1). It is unclear when the process will start.

Myanmar and neighboring Bangladesh recently completed an agreement to repatriate hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who fled from Myanmar to avoid brutal repression by the military.

Abdul Kalam, Rehabilitation and Relief Commissioner Bangladesh refugees, told the Associated Press, "The main thing is the evacuation process should be voluntary."

Relief workers and Rohingyas are concerned that refugees will be forced to return to the place from which they fled a few months ago.

David Mathieson, a human rights researcher who has worked for many years to tackle Rohingya's problems, says the governments of both countries are fantasizing. He said, "now we expect them back, as if they welcomed him with great joy after what the government did against them?"

Many of the refugees are unhappy with the possibility of returning to Myanmar.

All Rohingya villages in Myanmar have burned down. In addition, Rohingya refugees informed human rights workers about the atrocities committed by Myanmar's security forces, including blind shootings, rape and the complete destruction of their homes and villages. [gp]

US-South Korean Joint Military Training Next Year May Be Suspended

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Tuesday that joint military exercises next year may be suspended until after the winter Olympics.

The South Korean leader, in an interview with NBCNews, said he had suggested to The United States and America are reviewing it. "

The presidential spokesman in Seoul explained on Wednesday that the suspension of the joint exercise would depend on curbing provocative action by North Korea during the PyeongChang Winter Olympics taking place in 2018 in South Korea in February.

President Moon said the cessation of provocation would help create a "good atmosphere towards dialogue between the two Koreas as well as the North-Americans."

However, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in Ottawa, Canada, Tuesday that he did not know there is a plan to "change regularly scheduled military exercises and su "Tillerson said earlier that the United States was willing to hold unconditional peace talks with North Korea, but after being criticized by the White House, he made it clear that Pyongyang must first gain its eligibility to negotiate by stopping further provocations. [19659002] In the past two years, North Korea has accelerated its missile and nuclear development program, and last month announced that North Korea has reached its operating capacity to target the US mainland with inter-continental ballistic missiles. [gp]