Suharto son's sentence cut
Former president Suharto's youngest son -- jailed for plotting a murder -- could now benefit from a conditional release after his sentence was cut yesterday, Justice Minister Hamid Awaludin said. Hutomo "Tommy" Mandala Putra was sentenced to 15 years in jail in 2002 for paying a hitman to kill a Supreme Court judge and other offenses. The murdered judge had convicted Tommy in a graft case. His jail term was later reduced to 10 years in an appeal and has also been sliced several times under an Indonesian practice of sentence remissions for good behavior.
Islands warn of exodus
Low-lying South Pacific countries are asking their neighbors to prepare for a complete exodus of their people if global warming causes rising seas to swamp their island homes. President Anote Tong, whose nation of 32 atolls and 92,500 people has almost no land higher than 3m above sea level, said he would ask Australia and New Zealand to accept the region's environmental refugees. "If we are talking about our island states submerging in 10 years' time, we simply have to find somewhere else to go," Tong said at a news conference on Monday.
Child killer to be hung
A Malaysian man will hang for the murder of an eight-year-old Chinese girl two years ago after President S.R. Nathan rejected his plea for clemency, a report said yesterday. The death sentence is likely to be carried out within two weeks, meaning Took Leng How, 24, is unlikely to live until his 25th birthday in December, the Straits Times reported. The Malaysian, who worked as a vegetable packer, was convicted of the killing of eight-year-old Chinese national Huang Na in October 2004. After strangling the girl with his hands inside a store room, Took wrapped the body in nine layers of plastic bag and stuffed it into a cardboard box sealed with an adhesive tape.
Church burns as strife grows
A church was set on fire yesterday on Sulawesi where sectarian violence has surged since last month's executions of three Roman Catholic militants, police said. No one was injured in the blaze. The arson attack in the town of Poso apparently followed rumors that an Islamic school had been torched, said police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Muhammad Kilat, urging residents to be on the alert for "a campaign to fuel unrest." An investigation was being carried out, he said, "but all we know at this moment is that arsonists were behind the Eklesia church blaze."
Two satellites launched
Two experimental satellites were launched yesterday aboard the same Long March-4B carrier rocket from a launch center in the country's north, state press reported. The two satellites, launched from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in Shanxi Province, will conduct space-related experiments including exploring the environment and measuring radiation in space, the Xinhua news agency said. The two satellites, both of which were designed for a life of more than two years, were manufactured by the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology and DFH Satellite, it said. The launch marked the 92nd flight for the Long March rockets.
■ Gaza Strip
AP photographer kidnapped
Gunmen kidnapped a Spanish photographer working for the Associated Press (AP) news agency in the Gaza Strip yesterday, Palestinian security sources said. An AP employee in Gaza said the photographer was getting into a vehicle outside his residence in Gaza City when four gunmen seized him. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.