Nation off blacklist
The military junta welcomed a financial watchdog's decision yesterday to remove the country from a list of uncooperative money-laundering nations, saying that suppression efforts have paid off. The Financial Action Task Force, a Paris-based intergovernmental group, has removed Myanmar from its blacklist of non-cooperative countries whose systems support money laundering activities. "We are happy that the FATF recognized the progress we have made," police Colonel Sit Aye, head of the Transnational Crimes Department, said yesterday.
Court showing murder trial
A Chinese court is taking the rare step of letting a local TV station broadcast the trial of a farmer charged with stabbing 10 people to death at a Taoist temple, the Beijing News said yesterday. Qiu Xinhua, 47, goes on trial on Thursday in Ankang City, Shaanxi Province, it said. It didn't say whether the broadcasts would be live or whether some portions of the trial might be blacked out. The state-controlled media have sharply increased coverage of trials in recent years as the government tries to assure the public it is stamping out crime and corruption.
Muslims killed in south
Two Muslim villagers have been shot dead by suspected separatist insurgents in the troubled south, police said yesterday. Salahudin Toja, 19, was shot as he tapped rubber trees yesterday morning in Narathiwat Province. After the shooting, the attackers hacked his face beyond recognition, police said. In an attack in Narathiwat late on Friday, two militants dressed in black walked into a noodle shop and shot and killed Amran Ahdoloh, 43.
Elephants go bananas
Wild elephants rampaged through a plantation district, trampling more than 1,000 banana and rubber trees, a news report said yesterday. At least four elephants believed to be foraging for food ventured out of a jungle on Friday and tore through a rural plantation in the northern state of Kedah, shocking villagers whose livelihood depends on the crops, the Star newspaper reported. "I hope they will not make rampaging a habit," said resident Hussin Rashid, whose 300 banana trees were destroyed. Villagers have urged wildlife officials to patrol the area over the next few days to prevent the pachyderms from returning amid fears that they might attack humans.
Governor cheats death
A provincial governor escaped an assassination attempt in the east of the country yesterday but a colleague was killed in an early morning attack involving bombing and gunfire. The governor of the eastern province of Laghman, Gulab Mangal, told reporters a bomb struck the first vehicle of his convoy -- he had been in the second vehicle. As the occupants disembarked to assess the damage, they came under small arms fire, Mangal said. "A bomb struck under our front vehicle. Then we had some shots and our friend was hit," he said. "I was in the second vehicle." The dead man was an administration official.
■ Sri Lanka
Bodies to be exhumed
Authorities will exhume next week bodies of 15 aid workers massacred in the northeast of the country in August to try to establish who killed them, their French employer said yesterday. The 15 were among 17 mainly Tamils who worked for Paris-based voluntary group Action Contre la Faim (ACF) and were found killed in their office compound in Muttur town after a battle in the area between the army and Tamil Tiger rebels. The bodies would be exhumed and brought to Colombo, where bodies of the remaining two have been kept, for a new autopsy in the presence of international observers, ACF said in a statement. An earlier autopsy was inconclusive.