■ AustraliaAsylum policy protested
About 200 demonstrators gathered outside the home of Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock to protest against Australia's policy of detaining asylum seekers. But police blocked the protesters, barricading the minister's Sydney home. Some protesters attempted to force their way through the cordon. Police arrested three demonstrators who broke past the police line. Police said they would be charged with assault or with breach of peace. Rally organizers accused the police of being in contempt of a Supreme Court order Friday that the protest be allowed to proceed. "I think it's contempt of court. It's just outrageous," Ian Rintoul of the Refugee Action Coalition told the crowd.
Train crash injures 35
An express commuter train derailed and plowed into a rice field in southern Japan late on Friday, leaving two rail cars overturned and 35 passengers injured -- at least two seriously -- officials said. Rescuers were working in the rain to pull passengers from the six-car train. It was carrying about 120 people from Nagasaki to Hakata on Japan's southernmost main island of Kyushu, said Toshihiko Aoyagi, an official with the train's operator, JR Kyushu. Authorities were investigating the cause of the accident, he said during a nationally televised news conference.
Citizens urged to fight terror
Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali appealed to ordinary Pakistanis to get involved in the battle against terrorism and sectarianism, news reports said yesterday. Speaking Friday to representatives of Pakistan's police force, Jamali said the public has to join the battle currently being waged in Pakistan to hunt down terrorist suspects and perpetrators of sectarian killings. "All sections of the society have a responsibility toward supplementing the government's efforts to stamp out the menace of terrorism and sectarianism," the independent English-language newspaper, The News, quoted Jamali as saying.
Beidaihe talks cancelled
Chinese President Hu Jintao has called off the Communist Party leadership's annual retreat to the seaside resort of Beidaihe in an apparent attempt to improve the image of his new government, official sources said yesterday. "This has been decided, we are waiting for the formal notice," an official with the Hebei provincial government told reporters. "The movements of high-level state leaders are not always privy to provincial officials, but we have heard that the meetings will not be held this year and are awaiting formal notice," he said on condition of anonymity.
US blasts prison treatment
The US has protested alleged Chinese mistreatment of a jailed US member of the outlawed Falungong movement who says he has been forced to attend group study sessions that denigrate the sect, the Department of State said on Friday. Charles Lee, who is serving a three-year sentence for sabotage, told a US consular official by phone on Wednesday that he was being mistreated by prison officials, prompting the protest, spokesman Richard Boucher said. "He complained of mistreatment on the part of prison authorities," Boucher said. "He also reported being forced to attend anti-Falungong group study sessions. We have protested his treatment to appropriate prison authorities."
■ United StatesBlair granted concession