Church slams dinner raid
Christian officials have accused Islamic authorities of unlawfully entering a church and harassing guests at a community dinner. The incident could re-ignite criticism that authorities in the Muslim-majority country persistently fail to respect the rights of religious minorities. Pastor Daniel Ho says at least 20 officers from central Selangor state’s Islamic affairs department and police entered a Methodist church’s hall without a warrant on Wednesday and took photographs of a dinner attended by more than 100 people. Ho said yesterday the officers recorded details of several Muslim guests at the dinner.
Crew saved as ship sinks
An official said that navy and coast-guard helicopters and ships have rescued 30 crew members of a merchant ship off the coast of Mumbai hours after it sent out a distress signal. Navy spokesman Manohar Nambiar said the MV Rak sent out a distress signal early yesterday morning. The navy and coast guard immediately began rescue operations. The entire crew was rescued. The sailors, from Indonesia, Jordan and Romania, were taken to the naval base in Mumbai. The vessel was carrying a cargo of coal and was traveling from Indonesia to the western state of Gujarat. Nambiar said the ship was being monitored by the coast guard to estimate the rate at which it was sinking and to check for a possible oil spill.
Submarine fleet planned
The nation will have a submarine fleet within six years, the defense minister confirmed in reports yesterday, as China’s increasing maritime assertiveness causes regional concern. Russian media reported in December 2009 that Hanoi had agreed to buy half a dozen diesel-electric submarines for about US$2 billion, but Hanoi had not previously commented on the deal. “In the coming five to six years, we will have a submarine brigade with six Kilo 636-Class subs,” Defense Minister Phung Quang Thanh was quoted as saying by the state-controlled Tuoi Tre newspaper. Thanh said the fleet was “definitely not meant as a menace to regional nations,” according to yesterday’s report. “Buying submarines, missiles, fighter jets and other equipment is for self-defense,” he was quoted as saying, without specifying how Hanoi was paying for the naval investment.
Taliban kill NDS agent
A bomb attack killed an intelligence agent and wounded three girls in the country’s north yesterday, a provincial spokesman said, with the Taliban claiming responsibility. Payenda Mohammad, a junior official in the Kunduz branch of the National Directorate of Security (NDS), died when the blast destroyed his car near his home, provincial spokesman Mahboobullah Sayedi said. Three young girls were also injured, he added. The Taliban said in a text message that the bombing was aimed at senior security officials.
First prisoner job fair held
A prison has held the territory’s first job fair for inmates in a bid to help them find work before they are released, officials said. Companies willing to hire an inmate “can help rehabilitated offenders to turn over a new leaf,” the Correctional Services Department said. The fair at Pik Uk Prison, a minimum-security institution, kicked off on Wednesday with nearly 250 jobs on offer, in industries including retail, food, construction and mechanical engineering.