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Romance adds to intrigue at an ex-Chinese leader’s trial

JINAN, China — Concluding a trial that has riveted China, Bo Xilai, the former elite Communist Party official, attacked elements of the prosecution’s case Monday and said his former top deputy and his wife, both of whom provided evidence against him, had a passionate relationship with each other.

Bo said the charges of bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power against him were deeply flawed because they depended on evidence from his wife, Gu Kailai, and his former top deputy, Wang Lijun, who he suggested were themselves involved with the abuses Bo was accused of committing — and with each other.

Wang and Gu “were stuck together as if by glue,” he said in his closing comments.

Bo’s final testimony added to the soap opera-like twists in a trial that provided an unusual showcase of how China manages its legal system. Bo, 64, who was stripped of his membership in China’s ruling Politburo last year, is nearly certain to be found guilty.

But he was given considerable leeway to defend himself in extended and colorful testimony, according to transcripts of the trial that were circulated by the court and that appeared widely in state media.

—Edward Wong, The New York Times

Fresh charges for famed thief of period silver

ATLANTA — Even before a thief carefully removed a windowpane from a mansion here one rainy June night and slipped away with a 1734 silver mug that had belonged to George II, it was clear to detectives that a meticulous thief with a singular obsession was stealing the great silver pieces of the Old South.

For months, exquisite sterling silver collections had been disappearing, taken in the dead of night from historic homes in Charleston, SC, and the wealthy enclaves of Belle Meade, Tenn. Nothing else was touched.

The police in different states did not at first connect the thefts, some of which initially went unnoticed even by the owners. But as the burglaries piled up, a retired New Jersey detective watching reports on the Internet recognized a familiar pattern.

He called an Atlanta detective and said, “Let me explain how your burglaries occurred.”

Early Monday, outside an apartment building in the tiny northern Florida town of Hilliard, the police arrested Blane Nordahl, the man they believe is connected not only to the recent Southern silver burglaries but also to 30 years’ worth of antique silver thefts in several states.

He was charged with burglaries in Atlanta and will most likely face charges in other states.

—Kim Severson, The New York Times