Suharto's sentence to be cut
The son of former dictator Suharto will be among thousands of prisoners whose sentences will be reduced next week to mark the end of Ramadan, the chief warden at a Jakarta jail said yesterday. Tommy Suharto -- serving time for the murder of a Supreme Court judge -- will have 45 days cut from his sentence for good behavior, making him eligible for release in roughly three years, said Joko Harjono of Cipinang Penitentiary.
Error, weather caused crash
Human error and bad weather were responsible for last month's crash of a helicopter chartered by world conservation group WWF in which 24 people were killed, the chief investigator said yesterday. Junior forest minister Gopal Rai and diplomats were among those on board the helicopter that crashed on Sept. 23 near Ghunsa Village, 300km east of Kathmandu. The pilot had failed to inform the nearest control tower before and after taking off from Ghunsa, said Keshari Raj Pandit, chief of the investigation commission.
Protesters clash with police
Five hundred property owners in Shenzhen clashed with police during protests over government plans to build a highway, the South China Morning Post said yesterday. Residents of a housing estate staged a sit-in protest on one of the city's busiest streets on Friday after government officials refused to talk to them earlier outside a "citizens' center," it said. "There haven't been any hearings for residents about whether they will be inconvenienced," said Tang Tang, a protest leader. At least 10 people were arrested in the clashes but were later released.
Clothes stampede kills five
Five people were trampled to death yesterday in a stampede for new clothes being distributed by a tobacco factory owner to mark Islam's festival of Eid-al-Fitr. The five were killed when a crowd of around 1,000 people at Muktagachar in the northern Mymensingh District rushed to get through the factory gate after it was opened early yesterday, police officer Ashraful Islam said. "Hundreds of poor people stampeded into the factory and five of them -- four middle-aged men and one woman -- were trampled to death," Islam said.
■ New Zealand
Vicar institutes knicker run
A vicar has come to the rescue of a small town that has run out of women's underwear. A group of women at the local Anglican church revealed the crisis that began when the only clothing shop in the small town of Inglewood, about 280km northwest of the capital Wellington, stopped stocking women's underwear. "Someone came up with the point that it was a bit difficult that ladies' essentials were not able to be bought in Inglewood," Gary Husband, the vicar, said. "So we're going to have what's been called a knickers run." Husband said volunteers would now take anyone without transport to the nearby city of New Plymouth, about 20km away, to buy their essentials.
Prisoner diets to escape
A prisoner who went on a crash diet so he could squeeze his way out of jail escaped to show authorities that he could go straight on the outside, a court heard on Friday. Robert Cole, 37, fasted and used laxatives to lose some 13kg before he squeezed through a hole he had chiseled with a butter knife to escape from a hospital in a Sydney maximum security prison in January. Weighing just 56kg, Cole squeezed through the hole he had made between brickwork and a window frame, scaled a razor-wire fence, walked along a prison wall and then jumped to freedom. He was recaptured three days later.