■ PakistanAfghan militant seized
Security forces have arrested an Afghan militant leader who allegedly masterminded the month-long kidnap ordeal of three UN workers, officials said yesterday. Syed Mohammad Akbar Agha, head of Jaishul Muslimeen (Army of Muslims) was "arrested from a flat in central Karachi early last week," a senior security official said, adding that Agha "put up no resistance when the security forces raided his flat." The official said efforts were under way to arrest some of Agha's accomplices. Agha has told interrogators he slipped across the border into southwestern Pakistan from where he managed to reach Karachi to escape a manhunt in Afghanistan.
Sun's impostor jailed
A Chinese man who swindled some US$66,000 out of four people by claiming he was revolutionary leader Sun Yat-sen (孫中山), who died in 1925, was jailed for 11 years Saturday. Zhu Yongcheng, 62, was also fined 50,000 yuan (US$603). "I thought it was a good idea to take advantage of my resemblance to Sun Yat-sen to con money out of other people," Zhu told the court. Zhu told four people that he was Sun -- who would now be 138 years old -- and needed to borrow money to unfreeze his late wife's assets, which he said had been locked in foreign banks during China's revolution in the early 20th century. He had also promised to repay his creditors up to three times the amount he borrowed. In order to convince his victims, Zhu memorized Sun's biographies and had a seal made with the name "Sun Yat-sen" on it.
■ Hong Kong
Floating drug lab raided
Police said yesterday they had seized cocaine worth over US$2 million from a floating factory on a fish farming raft. Four hundred liters of liquid cocaine were found on board the raft off the coast of the rural New Territories. The liquid was capable of producing 20kg of the drug in its powder form, police said. It is believed to have been smuggled into Hong Kong mixed with coffee powder from South America. Police were tipped off after they arrested a 72-year-old man for smuggling more than 10kg of cocaine through Hong Kong airport last Sunday.
■ Papua New Guinea
Volcano strands thousands
Several thousand people remain stranded without adequate food, water or shelter on Manam in Papua New Guinea following repeated volcanic eruptions, authorities said Friday. Five people have died after drinking ash-contaminated water and about 7,900 who have been evacuated are struggling to survive in malaria-infested emergency care centers with few facilities. Officials said yesterday that it could take another four days to rescue the remaining 2,000 to 3,000 islanders.
Official's home bombed
A small bomb was thrown at a Nepalese bureaucrat's home yesterday, the third blast in Kathmandu in two days, but no one was hurt, police said. The pre-dawn blast at the home of Chief Secretary Bimal Prasad Koirala in a residential area made a small crater and broke windows. Koirala was not in the house at the time. Koirala's guard said the bomb was thrown by a passing motorcyclist. Nobody claimed responsibility and police are investigating whether Maoists rebels were involved.
■ LithuaniaVodka pipeline uncovered
Lithuanian border guards have discovered a pipeline stretching several kilome-ters between Belarus and Lithuania that was to serve as a conduit for illicit vodka, local media reported on Friday. Vodka in Belarus is substantially cheaper than in Lithuania, and the 3km construction of pipe and rubber hose was not the first attempt to spirit vodka across the border by means of a pipeline. Authorities said the latest discovery was only days away from going into service.