■ New ZealandPM frisked at Sydney airport
Prime Minister Helen Clark said yesterday she was frisked for explosives by Australian airport security staff late last month -- a revelation that caused major embarrassment for the Australian government. Clark said she was stopped for a security check at Sydney Airport on Oct. 28 while heading to Afghanistan and Iraq to visit New Zealand troops. Clark said she was pulled from a line and scanned with a new explosives-detection device. The check continued even after staffers were told who she was, Clark told New Zealand radio station NewstalkZB.
Refund assassin executed
China has executed a paid assassin who failed to kill his intended target but murdered the woman who hired him after she demanded a refund. An unnamed Beijing woman hired Li Changjiang and two associates for 100,000 yuan (US$12,080) in 2000 to kill or disfigure her husband's mistress, the official Xinhua news agency reported on yesterday. When Li and his accomplices, Zhang Hongyu and Sun Yanhai, failed to follow through, the woman asked for her money back, but they refused. In September 2000, Li, Zhang and Sun killed the woman and torched her car, Xinhua said. Li was executed on Friday. Sun was sentenced to life imprisonment and Zhang was still at large.
Opposition activists released
Myanmar's junta said yesterday it had freed five top opposition members from nearly six months of house arrest, but four others, including National League for Democracy (NLD) leader Aung San Suu Kyi, remained in detention. Four NLD members -- Hla Pe, Nyunt Wai, Than Tun and Soe Myint -- were released Sunday while the fifth, Lun Tin, was freed yesterday, a government official said. Aung San Suu Kyi and all eight members of her party's decision-making Central Executive Committee were detained after May 30 clashes between NLD supporters and a pro-junta gang in northern Myanmar. The 58-year-old Nobel peace laureate is confined to her Yangon home, as are NLD chairman Aung Shwe and secretary U Lwin, while the party's vice president, Tin Oo, is in Kalay prison near the Indian border.
Five soldiers die in crash
A US combat helicopter on a nighttime mission crashed outside a US military base near the Afghan capital Kabul on Sunday, killing at least five soldiers and injuring seven others. Although no formal announcement has been made, the downed helicopter is presumably a highly classified MH-53 Pave Low, one of the largest and most technologically advanced choppers in the world, used primarily in special operations. "It was an MH-53 transport helicopter. The personnel on board were Army and Air Force," Major Mike Escudie, a spokesman for the US Central Command, said.
■ Hong Kong
Singer banned from the road
A fast-driving Hong Kong pop star with a fleet of luxury cars was banned from the roads for six months yesterday after being convicted of careless driving. Nicholas Tse (謝霆鋒), 22, was also fined 4,000 Hong Kong dollars (US$500) over the incident in which he crashed his US$120,000 Audi A4 into the back of another car while on his way to the airport. Tse was on his way to catch a flight to Malaysia when he crashed into the back of a Mercedes. He was taken to hospital and treated for head and face injuries.
■ United StatesWTC subway reopens