Parole system planned
The government plans to introduce an early release program for prisoners next year to cut costs and overcrowding in prisons, a report said. Home Ministry Secretary-General Abdul Aziz Mohamad Yusof said the prison department will implement the system after it is approved by lawmakers in the next few weeks. "Prisoners serving light sentences of not more than one year will be considered for early release," Abdul Aziz was quoted as saying by Bernama news agency on Saturday. He said at least 2,000 prisoners qualify for parole, adding that the plan would cut overcrowding at 29 prisons currently housing 35,000 prisoners while their capacity was only for 28,000.
Ban on Afghan work lifted
Manila has lifted its travel ban to allow Filipinos to work for subcontractors employed by the UN, the US and coalition forces in Afghanistan. The Labor Department said a travel ban will remain in force in Iraq, although Filipinos will once again be able to travel to Lebanon, as well as to oil companies in Nigeria's delta region. Filipinos may now work in Kabul and other areas of Afghanistan for coalition forces, UN agencies, the Red Cross and similar aid agencies, Labor Secretary Arturo Brion said in a written order. The travel bans were imposed due to war or deteriorating security situations that have seen Filipinos abducted or, in the case of Iraq, killed in attacks against coalition convoys.
Muslim couple shot in home
Suspected separatist rebels have killed a Muslim man and his wife at their home in Yala Province, police said yesterday. The 63-year-old man and 53-year-old woman were shot dead on Saturday.
Dead miners recovered
Rescuers have recovered the bodies of 12 workers who were trapped after a gas explosion tore through a coal mine, state media said yesterday. The miners went missing after the blast earlier this week at the No. 10 mine of the Pingdingshan Coal (Group) Co in Pingdingshan, Henan Province, Xinhua news agency said. Twelve other workers escaped, it said. Search and rescue operations have ended, Xinhua said. Coal mines in the country are the world's deadliest, with an average of 13 deaths a day in fires, explosions and floods.
Hackers use `Lust, Caution'
Ang Lee's (李安) steamy Lust, Caution has become a massive hit in the country and the award-winning film is also helping spread online computer viruses, state media said yesterday. Internet users who download the World War II thriller are very likely to see their computers infected because hackers are planting viruses on sites where it can be acquired, Xinhua news agency said. The issue highlights emerging security problems as a growing number of people download movies from the Internet, it said.
Report sees little progress
The country ranked No. 5 from the bottom on a global index of human development, a report released yesterday said, despite billions of dollars in aid and help since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. The country's ranking on the Human Development Index -- a composite survey of education, longevity and economic performance -- was the lowest outside Africa, the Afghanistan Human Development Report 2007 said. The ranking of No. 174 out of 178 was above only Niger (the lowest), Sierra Leone, Mali and Burkina Faso, the study said.