Student sentenced

PRINCETON – By the time Princeton University graduate student Xiyue Wang arrived in Iran to conduct research for his doctorate in history, he had already spent years living and working in politically turbulent countries.

The Chinese-born US citizen was sentenced to 10 years in prison on spying charges after his arrest last summer, an Iranian official said on Sunday. He was the latest American citizen to face jail in Iran for what the US State Department has denounced as fabricated charges.

His sentencing shocked his colleagues at Princeton, who described him in interviews as a quiet but collegial scholar whose intellectual curiosity stood out even at the elite school in New Jersey.

Mr Wang is married and has a 4-year-old son.



ANKARA – Turkey announced a new school curriculum on Tuesday that excluded Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, feeding opposition fears President Tayyip Erdogan was subverting the republic’s secular foundations.

The chairman of a teachers’ union described the changes as a huge step in the wrong direction for Turkey’s schools and an attempt to avoid raising “generations who ask questions”.

Education Minister Ismet Yilmaz said the main elements of evolution already underpinned the science curriculum, but there would be no mention of Mr Darwin’s landmark theory until university.

Opposition Republican People’s Party lawmaker Mustafa Balbay said any suggestion the theory was beyond their understanding was an insult to high school students. “You go and give an 18-year old student the right to elect and be elected, but don’t give him the right to learn about the theory of evolution. This is being close minded and ignorant.”

Private jet

turned away

KABUL – A private jet, which Afghan officials suspected was bringing back embattled vice President Rashid Dostum from Turkey, was turned away when it tried to land in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, officials said on Tuesday

Mr Dostum, who flew to Turkey in May for medical treatment, had been facing accusations that he ordered a political rival to be detained and tortured in a case that drew strong condemnation from the Kabul government’s international backers, including the US.

Mr Dostum, a powerful ethnic Uzbek leader with decades of experience in Afghanistan’s wars and turbulent politics, has denied the accusations.

Afghan security officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a private jet carrying seven Turkish engineers to Mazar-i-Sharif late on Monday was ordered to fly to Kabul for checks.

following indications that Dostum was trying to come back to Afghanistan. The plane instead diverted to Turkmenistan.

A senior official from Dostum’s Junbish party, denied that he had tried to enter Afghanistan, saying that a guest of provincial governor Atta Mohammad Noor had been due to land in Mazar but had gone to Turkmenistan because of technical issues.

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