Journalist shot dead
A journalist was shot dead by unknown gunmen after he interviewed a spokesman for the local Taliban in a tribal area bordering Afghanistan, officials and witnesses said yesterday. Muhammad Ibrahim, 44, a reporter for Urdu-language Express newspaper, was killed on Thursday evening as he was returning to Khar after interviewing Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan spokesman Maulvi Omar, they said. Tribal administration official Muwaz Khan confirmed the killing, saying no one had claimed responsibility.
Teen punished with essay
A judge has ordered a teenager caught with Ecstasy to write a 2,000-word essay on the dangers of using drugs. Nicholas Benjamin Siiankoski, 18, pleaded guilty to possessing a dangerous drug and was sentenced yesterday to three years’ probation and 100 hours of community service. But Justice George Fryberg also ordered the teen to write a researched essay on the effects of cannabis and Ecstasy after he admitted experimenting with other drugs and using marijuana since he was 15. He has three months to write the essay.
Suspect escapes police
A suspect in a drug case escaped custody by driving off in a police car with his handcuffs still on. The 24-year-old man got away on Thursday when police transporting him to court stopped for a toilet break in the northern Perak state, local police chief Roslan Bek Ahmad said yesterday. Police were bringing the man from northern Alor Star town to a court in Klang town in central Malaysia for trial. Along the way, they stopped at a rest area off a highway. Two of the policemen went to the toilet while a third one remained with the suspect in the car. The suspect overpowered the officer, got behind the wheel and sped away, driving with his hands still cuffed, Roslan said.
Virus spreading among kids
A health official warned local authorities nationwide to be on the lookout for an infectious disease that has killed 12 children in the country this year. So far, the nation has reported about 2,800 cases of hand, foot and mouth disease, a common childhood illness that typically causes little more than a fever and rash, said Nguyen Huy Nga, director of the Preventive Medicine Department. About 400 of those cases have been blamed on enterovirus 71, or EV-71, one of several viruses that cause the illness. EV-71 can result in a more serious form of hand, foot and mouth disease that can lead to paralysis, brain swelling or death. State media quoted Vice Minister of Health Trinh Quan Huan as saying the situation was becoming more complicated with the virus spreading in the north of the country.
■ HONG KONG
Police launch manhunt
Police launched a manhunt yesterday after the body of a strangled woman was found in her flat. They said they were looking for the boyfriend of Yang Xiuqiong, 32, who was found dead late on Wednesday with a curtain tied around her neck. A post mortem revealed Yang had been dead for more than 24 hours and had been suffocated. Neighbors called the police after noticing a smell coming from the third floor flat. They claimed they had also heard a heated argument coming from the apartment a few days earlier. Yang is believed to have moved in after separating from her husband. She also has a 10-year-old son living with her parents. Police said the case had been classified as murder.