Shiite Muslims face charges
An official says more than 200 Shiites — including Iranians, Indonesians and Pakistanis — detained in Kuala Lumpur last week may be charged with breaching Islamic laws. Nurhamizah Othman of the Selangor Islamic Religious Department says Islamic officials arrested the group, who were allegedly followers of the outlawed Shiite denomination, in central Selangor state. Officials have said the Shiite doctrine is a threat to national security because it permits the killing of Muslims from other sects who are regarded as infidels.
Coast guard in video trouble
Tokyo is considering punishing more than 50 coast guard officials over the leak of a video showing a collision between Japanese and Chinese vessels that sparked a major row, reports said yesterday. The officials include a 43-year-old officer who has admitted to leaking the video, the Sankei Shimbun and Kyodo News reported, quoting unnamed sources. More than 50 others might also be punished for failing to properly supervise the officer and prevent the leak of the video, they said.
Tourists die in bus crash
At least 22 people were killed when a bus carrying Thai tourists overturned on a highway after a trip to the Cameron Highlands, police and reports said yesterday. “The bus was filled with Thai tourists,” said Zakaria Yusof, acting police chief in Perak state, but he was not able to confirm whether all the dead were Thai nationals. The Star daily said the bus hit a divider and overturned as it traveled away from the Cameron Highlands.
Thai dancer caught with pills
A Thai woman swallowed more than 1,200 ecstasy pills wrapped in plastic and tried to smuggle them into Bali, officials said yesterday. Customs officials said the 24-year-old woman appeared nervous and was found to have a hard stomach during a body search at Bali’s international airport as she arrived on Thursday on a flight from Bangkok. She was taken to hospital and 1,280 ecstasy pills were found in her stomach, Bali customs chief I Made Wijaya told a press conference. They weighed 402g and were worth about 448 million rupiah (US$50,000), he said. The woman, who claimed to be a dancer in Bangkok, told investigators that an Israeli man had offered to pay her US$656 to deliver the pills to Bali, Wijaya said. If convicted she faces life imprisonment or death under tough anti-drug laws.
Hotel blaze toll rises
The death toll in a fire that swept through a budget hotel early on Sunday has risen to 16 after one of the survivors died in a hospital. The fire razed the Bed and Breakfast Pension House in Cagayan province’s capital, Tuguegarao city, burning to death 15 people. Nine of the victims were nursing students in town to take a licensing exam.
Opposition leader arrested
Police arrested a top opposition leader in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh state, and forcibly took him to a hospital yesterday as his condition deteriorated on the fourth day of an indefinite fast to demand compensation for farmers. Telugu Desam regional party leader Chandrababu Naidu wants the state government to pay a higher rate of compensation to thousands of farmers whose crops have been devastated by recent heavy monsoon rains and subsequent flooding.
UK ties might be cut
A parliamentary committee in Tehran has approved a draft motion to sever diplomatic ties with Britain. Lawmaker Mohammad Karamirad, a member of the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, said the lawmakers made the decision in a vote on Sunday. The motion requires the approval of the full parliament and a constitutional watchdog to take effect. If approved, Karamirad said diplomatic, cultural and economic relations with London would drop to “zero,” which will teach Britain a lesson about “how to deal with the great Iranian people.”