World News Brief, Friday August 10

Gu Kailai does not contest charges, found guilty of murdering British businessman in China; US begins cleanup of Agent Orange-contaminated site in Vietnam 37 years after war ended; Libya hands power to newly-elected assembly; France heads back into recession; and more

Top of the Agenda: Swift Murder Trial for Gu Kailai

China's most politically sensitive trial in three decades (Reuters) ended in only seven hours after Gu Kalai, wife of ousted Politburo member Bo Xilai, did not contest charges of murdering a British businessman, a court official said. Many see the trial as a campaign to ruin Bo (WashPost), a populist who made powerful enemies. Chief among the central leadership's objectives in Gu's trial has been to keep the focus tightly on the murder case rather than on larger allegations of corruption, and to end an embarrassing episode for the communist regime.


"In one way, the Bo saga brings the party back in time. In 1981, the Gang of Four – Mao Zedong's wife Jiang Qing and three other party members – were found guilty of persecuting hundreds of thousands during the Cultural Revolution. As was the case after the death of Mao, the Chinese leadership has an interest in limiting the damage to the party from the case of Mr. Bo who partly built his quest for power on a renaissance of Cultural Revolution-era Maoist policies," says Kathrin Hille in the Financial Times.

"The Bo Xilai affair has revealed the rift at the very top of the regime. Worse still, a sense of political malaise and loss of direction today pervades the party. Many of the party's best and brightest now realize that the regime's best days are probably behind it and, without fundamental political reforms, it will not be able to hold on much longer," writes Minxin Pei in The Diplomat.



U.S. Starts Agent Orange Cleanup in Vietnam

U.S.-funded workers began treating a Vietnam War site contaminated with dioxin (Bloomberg), an Agent Orange byproduct, for the first time since fighting ended 37 years ago.



Libya hands power to newly-elected assembly

France heads back into recession

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