■ HONG KONG
Teenager dies in attack
A 15-year-old boy died yesterday after being attacked by a group wielding iron bars, police said. Police launched a murder inquiry after the teenager was assaulted from behind by 10 people as he was walking with a friend late on Saturday, the 19-year-old friend told police. "Sustaining serious injuries to his feet, the boy was rushed to [hospital] where he was certified dead at 2:40am Sunday," a spokesman said in a statement. A post-mortem was to be carried out today. Such blatant attacks are rare in the territory, despite gang activity in extortion, prostitution and the drugs trade.
■ SRI LANKA
Five killed in likely reprisal
Five men were killed near Colombo yesterday in what was believed to be a reprisal for attacks by criminal gangs, police said. The men were between the ages of 20 and 22 and were shot and hacked to death in Panadura, 25km from Colombo, a police official said, adding that there had been a spate of similar killings in the area. Underworld gangs have easy access to weapons and hitmen as a result of the country's decades-old Tamil separatist conflict. The country's military also has a high desertion rate, with some ex-soldiers resorting to crime.
■ NEW ZEALAND
Rescue mounted for caver
A rescue team headed deep underground yesterday to aid a cave climber with a broken leg who was trapped after a rock slide, police said. The injured climber -- stranded 3km from the cave's entrance on South Island -- had his leg smashed and suffered head injuries by falling rocks in Nelson's Middle Earth cave system, rescue coordinator Sergeant Mike Fitzsimmons said. Two men with the four-member caving group took six hours to climb out to raise the alarm, he said. The other member stayed with the injured man. Fitzsimmons said a rescue team of five, including a doctor, went underground yesterday morning to aid the local man, whose name was not released.
Cyber-dissident Lu Gengsong, a former lecturer turned activist, has been detained by police in Zhejiang Province, a rights watchdog group said yesterday. Lu, 51, was picked up at his home on Friday in Hangzhou as part of a crackdown ahead of this year's Chinese Communist Party congress and next year's Beijing Olympics, Chinese Human Rights Defenders said in a statement. Police searched his home and seized the hard disks from his and his daughter's computers, the group said. His wife was detained for three hours and then released. The family was told that Lu is under questioning on charges of inciting subversion of state power and holding secret documents, the group said.
Equine flu halts racing
The equine influenza outbreak that has brought the country's racing industry to a standstill is starting to spread, with hundreds of horses now displaying symptoms of the disease. Government officials confirmed yesterday that the disease had spread out of Sydney into rural New South Wales and across the state border into Queensland. The government tried to contain the highly contagious disease by enforcing an unprecedented nationwide lockdown. The multi-billion dollar racing industry is already in turmoil because of the outbreak, but further spread could threaten this year's Melbourne Cup.
Rabbi fired for marriage
A rabbi who married a Protestant pastor in what is possibly a unique inter-faith union has been fired from his post, his wife announced on Saturday. Jonathan Levy, 53, has been ordered to cease his religious functions in the cities of Montpellier and Strasbourg following last month's wedding, said Catherine Stoerkel, a 35-year-old pastor in the southeastern town of Sainte Affrique. The Federation of Liberal Judaism "simply fired my husband," she said. She said that her own church had accepted the marriage and she was continuing her duties.