Bollywood ban lifted
Films from India's prolific Bollywood movie industry -- officially banned for decades in Pakistan but still watched by millions there -- have become legal, a news report said yesterday. Pakistan outlawed public screenings of Indian films in 1965, the year the nuclear-armed neighbor countries fought the second of their three wars. But now, both countries are working hard on a sweeping peace process. The Times of India newspaper quoted Saeed Rizvi, president of the Pakistan Film Producers Association, as saying the Indian film ban has been lifted. Authorities in Pakistan could not immediately be reached to confirm the report.
Battle to save workers
Rescuers were pumping tonnes of water out of a flooded railway tunnel to save 11 construction workers missing since the site flooded, the official Xinhua News Agency said yesterday. The flood occurred on Saturday morning in Lichuan County in Hubei Province according to Xinhua. It said 14 workers were inside the tunnel, which was to connect a rail line from Hubei's Yichang County to Wanzhou District in Chongqing, when it flooded. Three managed to escape. Xinhua cited rescuers as saying it would take more than 30 hours to pump out the more than 150,000m3 of water that inundated the tunnel.
Firearms probe launched
Authorities have launched investigations into the theft of firearms and ammunition stolen from a navy base, news reports said yesterday. More than 12 people including seven navy personnel have so far been arrested, while some firearms, ammunition and hand grenades have been recovered, The Star newspaper reported, quoting sources familiar with the probe. Authorities said they believe thefts had been occurring sporadically over the past few years but were only discovered recently, causing a high-level police taskforce to be established.
Army warns fugitive officers
The military yesterday urged four fugitive army officers to surrender, warning that some groups were plotting to "inflict harm" on them as part of efforts to destabilize the government of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. The four army officers, who took part in a failed uprising against Arroyo in July 2003, escaped from detention on Jan. 17, triggering fresh talks of unrest in the military and rumors of a coup against the government. "We are urging the four to return to military control because we are worried that some groups might take advantage of their being on the run," army spokesman Major Bartolome Bacarro said in a radio interview. "They might inflict harm on them and later pass the blame to the army or the military," he added.
Public unaware of poll
The nation's first senate election began yesterday but has gone largely unnoticed by a public who cannot cast their ballots. Only parliamentarians and members of commune councils -- local administrative bodies -- can vote, according to the Senate election law, which calls for non-universal suffrage. About 11,000 people will go to the polls, according to election officials. Previously senators had been appointed by their political parties and the king. Four parties began campaigning earlier this month for the 61-seat Senate, which has no real power to amend or change legislative content and is seen by many as an ineffectual body.