PM leaves for India
Prime Minister Hun Sen left for an official four-day visit to India yesterday in hopes of boosting ties, an official said. Hun Sen will hold talks with his counterpart Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and India's President APJ Abdul Kalam. Agreements on defense cooperation, the transfer of prisoners, and agriculture and water resource management are on the agenda, said Sri Thamrongk, an adviser to Hun Sen. A memorandum of understanding on petroleum cooperation is also expected to be discussed.
Former prime minister dies
Former prime minister Chandra Shekhar, who served briefly during a period of political turmoil, died yesterday from a blood-related illness at the age of 80, a report said. Shekhar died of a blood disease after being ill for three months, the Press Trust of India reported. The socialist politician became the eleventh prime minister of India in 1990 after splitting from his Janata Dal party and formed an unsteady coalition government under a new party that collapsed within eight months. During his term, Shekhar staunchly opposed economic liberalization, which was finally initiated by his successor Narasimha Rao in the early 1990s.
Hymn TV show coming
A new reality television contest of hymn-singing pop idols is aiming to bring spirituality to young Indians influenced by liberal Western lifestyles and stressed by increasing work pressures. Producers of Swaradhiraj,or "Supreme ruler of musical notes" -- which is expected to be aired in October -- say contestants will sing spiritual songs of any religion. "Youth today are going to discotheques. They are drinking too much, smoking too much and being influenced by Western media," said Arvind Joshi, an official from Aastha, India's largest spirituality TV channel, which will air the show. "Even divorce rates are increasing ... so we are trying to make them start thinking in the right direction."
US pedophile arrested
A convicted US pedophile who jumped parole and fled to Asia is expected to be sent back to the US late on Saturday, an Indian police official said. Alan Jay Horowitz, a former Jewish rabbi and child psychiatrist, had served 15 years in jail for abusing children before he fled the country last year. He was arrested at a south Indian beach resort in May. "We have handed Alan over to US embassy officials in Delhi this morning and they are taking him by Continental Airlines to New Jersey" late on Saturday, Sethil Kumar, a police official from southern Tamil Nadu state, said.
Sumatran rhinos may be bred
The government may try to breed Sumatran rhinos in captivity on Borneo island in an effort to rescue one of the world's rarest rhinos from extinction, a news report said yesterday. The rain forests of Malaysia's Sabah state are the last preserve of the Borneo Sumatran rhino, a subspecies of the bristly, snub-nosed Sumatran rhino. Scientists estimate only between 25 and 50 of the animals still exist in Sabah's jungles. The state's Wildlife Department Deputy Director Laurentius Ambu said conservationists met this month in Sabah and pointed out the need for captive breeding of the animal, the New Straits Times newspaper reported. Such attempts could be made at Sabah's five-month-old Lok Kawi Wildlife Park.
Rocket attack launched