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By Stephanie van den Berg THE HAGUE (Reuters) - War crimes judges on Tuesday sentenced a former Islamist rebel who admitted wrecking holy shrines during Mali's 2012 conflict to nine years in prison, in the first such case to focus on destruction of cultural heritage. Human rights groups and international legal experts hope Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi's case in the International Criminal Court may serve as a deterrent to a kind of devastation that continues to be a feature of global conflicts yet has gone largely unpunished. Al-Mahdi expressed remorse for his involvement in the destruction of 10 mausoleums and religious sites in Timbuktu dating from Mali's 14th-century golden age as a trading hub and center of Sufi Islam, a branch of the religion seen as idolatrous by some hardline Muslim groups.
By Michael Martina and Nobuhiro Kubo BEIJING/TOKYO (Reuters) - Hillary Clinton put Donald Trump on the defensive and showed a better grasp of foreign policy issues, according to a sampling of people across Asia who watched the fiery first U.S. presidential debate. In China, the debate was streamed live on China's Twitter-like Weibo service and attracted thousands of comments despite the lack of a translation into Chinese. Some called Trump "a loose cannon", while others thought that as a businessman he was best qualified to lead the world's largest economy. William Hua, a Chinese lawyer who watched the debate at an American Chamber of Commerce event in Beijing, said he thought Clinton came out on top.