Exile returns home
The government yesterday welcomed the return of exiled communist rebel negotiator Luis Jalandoni ahead of a resumption of peace talks that both sides hope will end a 40-year insurgency. Jalandoni and wife Consuelo Ledesma, both members of the National Democratic Front, took advantage of the government’s promise of immunity and returned to Manila on Sunday to visit Jalandoni’s ailing sister, said their colleague, Representative Satur Ocampo. The couple lives in self-imposed exile in the Netherlands together with Jose Maria Sison, considered the top figure in the communist movement that includes the 5,000-strong New People’s Army.
Abusive officials risk jobs
Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials who abuse their power or handle a protest poorly could lose their jobs, Xinhua news agency said yesterday. New regulations on accountablity issued over the weekend hold officials responsible if misconduct leads to serious accidents, group protests or other serious incidents, Xinhua said. Penalties range from a public apology to suspension, forced resignation and dismissal. The CCP punished 2,386 officials at or above the prefectural level from July 2003 until last December, Xinhua said.
Internet controls tightened
President Nursultan Nazarbayev has signed into law new controls on the Internet that the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said yesterday will be repressive. The OSCE, which Kazakhstan will chair next year, had earlier urged Nazarbayev to veto the bill. The legislation will allow courts to block Web sites, including foreign ones, and to class blogs and chatrooms as media. “Nazarbayev signed it last Friday,” Sofya Lapina, a media rights activist, said yesterday. “We had hoped he would veto it and wrote letters to him but that has not been taken into account.” The government says the law was aimed at preventing unrest.
Chhattisgarh put on alert
The central state of Chhattisgarh was on high alert yesterday after the death toll of policemen killed in the worst Maoist attack this year rose to 29 overnight, officials and news reports said. Rebels belonging to the banned Communist Paty of India-Maoist’s military wing carried out three attacks in Rajnandgaon district, 90kmwest of state capital Raipur, on Sunday. District police chief VK Choubey was among those killed. “The death toll has risen by five more to 29 as bodies of four policemen were found in the area where Maoists carried the attacks. Another policeman succumbed to injuries later at night,” a policewoman said. Thirteen policemen were missing in the wake of the attacks.
Man immolates himself
A man poured paint thinner over himself and burned himself to death in front of his wife and diners at a seafood restaurant on Sunday night, police said yesterday. The 54-year-old man apparently went to the restaurant to confront his wife who works there over a domestic issue. He pulled out a bottle of paint thinner from a backpack, doused himself with it and then pulled out a lighter and set fire to himself. Ng was declared dead at the scene while his 48-year-old wife and another female restaurant employee were badly injured in the blaze and taken to hospital, police said.
Police kill five in clashes
Russian security forces shot dead five militants in Chechnya yesterday, Russian news agency Interfax reported, adding to the 17 who died in weekend violence. The separatists were killed in two separate incidents, three when they failed to heed an order to halt their car on a road running through Chechnya early on Monday, a local interior ministry official was quoted as saying. Two were shot when they resisted police trying to detain them near the village of Goi-Chu, the official told Interfax.