Pedophile jailed indefinitely
A computer technician who installed video cameras in his house and filmed himself abusing dozens of children -- some as young as 1 year old -- was jailed indefinitely in Brisbane yesterday. Prosecutors branded Geoffrey Robert Dobbs, 48, Australia's worst pedophile after he admitted to abusing 62 young girls over 27 years. Dobbs earlier pleaded guilty to 116 charges ranging from filming or touching girls to having sex with them between 1972 and 1999. The full extent of his crimes has still to be revealed, with another 80 girls caught on video yet to be identified.
New army sees first action
About 1,000 soldiers of Afghanistan's new national army launched their first major operation, sweeping for insurgents in the east of the country. No fighting has been reported since the operation, codenamed Warrior Sweep, began Monday when troops left Kabul for Surmad district in Paktia province, the spokesman for coalition forces, US Colonel Rodney Davis, said Wednesday. The operation was the largest ever carried out by troops from the new army since the U.S. and French forces began training recruits over a year ago.
Nine more rebels killed
Nine more rebels of the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) have been killed yesterday during an army offensive against the guerrillas in Indonesia's Aceh province. In a statement, the military said six died during three separate firefights on Wednesday while the other three died during other operations the same day.The military says it has killed more than 500 rebels since the operation began on May 19 and seized some 250 weapons. It says rebels who flee firefights often take away weapons. But an international thinktank questioned the military figures for rebel dead.
■ South Asia
Hundreds die in floods
Diarrhea caused by flood-tainted water killed six people and afflicted hundreds in Bangladesh, but water levels from a monthlong deluge were receding across South Asia, relief officials said Thursday.
Authorities in the northern Indian city of Allahabad reported that an outbreak of cholera had killed five children and three adults this week. In neighboring Nepal, landslides killed three people, including a four-month-old baby who died on Tuesday in Khamlung village, which lies 500km northeast of the capital, Katmandu.With the new casualties, the overall toll of flood-related deaths in the South Asian region reached 610.
Tourists to be fingerprinted
Police hunting the killer of an Australian woman on a remote Pacific island said yesterday they plan to fingerprint about 400 tourists who were on the island when she was slain. The body of 29-year-old Janelle Patton was found in March last year, stabbed and partly wrapped in plastic beside a waterfall on Norfolk Island, a tiny speck of Australian territory 1,900km northeast of Sydney. Patton's slaying was the first on the island since it became a brutal penal colony 150 years ago, and has sparked a dogged but so far fruitless police inquiry. After finding partial hand and fingerprints on the plastic sheet, Australian federal police launched a mass fingerprinting operation, taking prints from 1,248 of the island's 1,632 adults who volunteered.
Police threaten squatters
Thousands of squatters who recently moved into vacant apartment buildings and built a shantytown in a large empty lot on the outskirts of Sao Paulo were warned to leave or face being ousted by riot police. As tensions rose Wednesday between authorities and the squatters, a Brazilian magazine photographer covering one of the standoffs was shot dead in front of the lot. Police were investigating whether the photographer was shot by criminals who had also robbed a nearby gas station or whether he was killed by security guards protecting the squatters, the magazine said on its Web site.