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South Korea court sentences ex-president Park 8 more years in jail

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A South Korean court sentenced former President Park Geun-hye to eight more years in prison on Friday after finding her guilty on charges of causing loss of funds from the state spy agency and interfering in 2016 parliamentary elections.

The Seoul Central District Court ruled that Park, who already received a 24-year jail term over separate corruption charges, colluded with her former aides to cause the loss of government funds worth 3.3bn won ($2.91m) from the National Intelligence Service.



“The accused received some three billion won over three years from the three NIS chiefs. Through this crime, the accused incurred a considerable amount of loss to the state treasury,” said senior judge Seong Chang-ho at the Seoul Central District Court.

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Three former NIS chiefs testified they had funnelled the funds to Park on her orders, the court said.

The judge rebuked Park, who denied the charges, for being “uncooperative” throughout the court hearing and questioning by prosecutors.

She was also found guilty of interfering in the then-ruling Saenuri Party’s selection of candidates for the parliamentary election.

Prosecutors had earlier demanded a 15-year sentence for Park. 

Park, 66, has denied wrongdoing and was not present in court. She was found guilty by a lower court in April of separate charges including bribery, abuse of power and coercion. She was also fined $16m. 

She now faces a total of 32 years in prison. 

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Impeached and removed from office

In December 2016, South Korean legislators overwhelmingly voted to impeach Park but she refused to resign, offering instead an apology while denying any legal wrongdoing.

Three months later, the eight-member Constitutional Court voted unanimously to remove her from office.

She was charged and arrested soon after her dismissal from office in 2017. 

She is the daughter of another former president, Park Chung-hee, who seized power in 1961 and was assassinated eight years later.

Park could potentially get an even longer jail time depending on the rulings of the appeals courts.

Following the earlier ruling in April, prosecutors appealed Park’s 24-year term on charges including bribery and abuse of state power and are now demanding 30 years in prison.

The Seoul High Court will rule on the case on August 24.

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Entertainment

Spice Girl Emma Bunton to host the Great American Baking Show

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Spice Girl Emma Bunton is the new presenter of the US version of The Great British Bake Off.



The Great American Baking Show will return to TV in the US later this year with Paul Hollywood returning as judge.

Baby Spice said it was her “dream job. Christmas time, eating cake and having such a brilliant time with Spice, Sherry and Paul.”

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Sherry Yard will join as a judge and Bunton will co-host with American footballer Anthony ‘Spice’ Adams.

Bunton revealed on her Heart Radio show that she has already started filming for the show – and was very excited.

“Just being in the famous tent – honestly it took me a week to get used to being in the tent,” she said.

Bunton added that working with Hollywood was “great fun”.

“I had lots of fun with Paul. He’s got a great sense of humour. I did watch out for him [though, as] he can be trouble. He’s got those eyes. Don’t look in his eyes!”

The Great American Baking Show was pulled off air last year after allegations of sexual harassment surrounding judge Johnny Iuzzini.

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UK minister pulls out of Saudi summit

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The UK’s International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has pulled out of attending an investment conference in Saudi Arabia next week.



It comes amid allegations the country was behind the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Mr Khashoggi has not been seen since entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October, where Turkish officials allege he was killed.

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Saudi Arabia, which denies the killing, allowed investigators inside overnight.

The Dutch and French finance ministers, as well as several other politicians and business leaders, have said they are pulling out of the event.

However, a number of major businesses – including Goldman Sachs, Pepsi and EDF – are still intending to go despite growing pressure for a boycott.

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