Suu Kyi in good health
Red Cross officials, allowed for the first time to meet detained Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, said yesterday she was in good health and high spirits after two months in government custody. The visit came as the US slapped tough new sanctions on the impoverished Southeast Asian country, a move military-ruled Myanmar and some of its neighbors said would only hurt the country's poor.
Aceh rebels go on trial
Three former Aceh rebel peace negotiators went on trial yesterday in the Indonesian province and could face the death penalty if found guilty of terrorism. Another two former negotiators for the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) are to be tried tomorrow. Police have said all five may face a death sentence if convicted. The five were arrested hours after last-ditch peace talks in Tokyo broke down and just before Indonesian troops on May 19 launched a huge operation to crush GAM. Teuku Kamaruzzaman, 42, was the first of the three to go on trial yesterday.
Factory blast kills 29
A blast ripped through a fireworks factory in northern China, killing 29 people and injuring at least 141, state media said yesterday. The explosion occurred Monday at the Guoxi fireworks factory in the town of Wangkou in Hebei Province, China Central Television reported. It wasn't immediately clear how many workers were in the factory. "I thought it was an earthquake. I was really scared. My sister and I just ran out of the house," Qian Yun, a 19-year-old living about 5km away from the factory, said by telephone. The injured were hospitalized and 50 people with minor injuries were released, CCTV said.
■ New Zealand
Chinese student set for jail
A 19-year-old student from China who killed a little girl when he lost control of his speeding car must go to jail, the New Zealand Parole Board ruled yesterday, rejecting his bid to serve a one-year sentence under home detention. Ding Yanzhao was originally jailed for two years for dangerous driving causing the four-year-old's death, but the sentence was halved on appeal after the court took into account his parents' offer of a NZ$40,000 (US$23,200) gift to the girl's family. But they declined the money which then went to the kindergarten attended by Georgina McCarten-Graham, who died when the sports car Zhao was driving at 110kph in a 50kph zone crashed into a service station, where her father was checking the tire pressures on his vehicle. Zhao did not have a New Zealand or Chinese driver's license and had bought the car with money his parents had given him for English-language classes.
Boy kills friend over smoke
A 15-year-old Thai boy stabbed his friend to death after asking him for a cigarette and getting turned down, a news report said yesterday. The killing happened Monday afternoon at a food shop in Phra Prom district of Nakhon Si Thammarat, 560km south of Bangkok, where four teenagers were drinking liquor. According to the Bangkok Post, the 15-year-old, whose name was withheld because he is a minor, asked Apichart Phetmalai, 19, for a smoke. Apichart told him no because he had only one cigarette left in his pack, triggering an argument during which Apichart was stabbed three times. Police were searching for the young murder suspect, who fled the scene.