Bogus FBI agent nabbed
A confidence trickster has been arrested for posing as an FBI agent and defrauding unwitting customers in Islamabad of US$21,000, police said yesterday. Hayat Khan, 48, was detained in a sting operation on Thursday following a number of complaints in the capital, police official Suhail Akram said. Khan, who also went by the alias Riaz Khan, claimed to have worked for the FBI and trapped his victims by offering to sell US dollars at a lower rate than on the market. He reeled them in by offering favorable exchange rates for relatively small amounts of money and then overcharging them for much larger amounts. “We have recovered 2 million rupees (US$21,000) from his possession and are investigating,” Akram said.
Veteran diplomat dies
Veteran politician, diplomat and press baron Ghassan Tueni died in hospital early yesterday aged 86, his newspaper An-Nahar announced. Known for his sharp intellect, elegance and wit, Tueni became a deputy at the age of 25 and subsequently served in several Cabinets. He was the nation’s ambassador to the UN from 1977 to 1982, at the height of the civil war. Tueni’s life was marked by a series of personal tragedies. His first wife Nadia Hamade, a famous poet, died of cancer, as did his seven-year-old daughter Nayla. His son Makram died in a car accident. In December 2005, his other son Gebran Tueni, also a lawmaker and journalist, was assassinated.
Prisoners escape from jail
Officials say more than a dozen prisoners, including criminals and members of the Taliban, have escaped from a jail in northern Afghanistan. Sar-e-Pul Provincial Governor Abdul Jabar Haqbeen said a bomb was detonated on the outside of one of the prison walls on Thursday night, and the prisoners escaped through the rubble. Guards opened fire, killing three prisoners, he said. Many were recaptured, but authorities are still looking for 14 prisoners who managed to escape.
Bomb death toll rises to 15
The death toll from a bomb attack in the southwestern city of Quetta rose to 15 yesterday after seven people injured died overnight in hospital, police said. The dead included five students from the seminary where the bomb exploded as people gathered to attend a degree ceremony. The 10 others were teachers, employees and relatives. The death toll could rise further, police official Abdur Rahim Khokhar said. Police said 6kg of explosives was planted on a bicycle, parked outside the seminary and covered with garlands. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.
Forced marriage ban eyed
Parents who force their children to marry will face jail under newly proposed laws, the government said yesterday. The plans to make forced marriage a criminal offense come after officials handled more than 2,000 possible cases of people coerced into matrimony since January last year, the Home Office said. The majority of the cases involved girls under 21 — with some under 15. Many of the families came from Pakistan and Bangladesh, it said in a statement. “Forced marriage is abhorrent and is little more than slavery,” Prime Minister David Cameron said. The government hopes to introduce the legislation to parliament by 2014, the Home Office said.
Court interferes with parties
The Supreme Court has issued decisions shaking up the leadership of two small political parties and apparently preventing them from backing opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles. Capriles condemned the court decisions on Thursday in a message on Twitter, saying that President Hugo Chavez’s government is resorting to “judicial tricks” to keep the parties Podemos and PPT from supporting his candidacy. Both used to be pro-Chavez, but have in recent years moved to the opposition. The Supreme Court said in a statement that it had decided to recognize former pro-Chavez state governor Didalco Bolivar as the leader of Podemos, rather than established leader Ismael Garcia. A similar ruling in the case of PPT voided the party’s most recent internal elections and ordered it to hold new elections within 90 days.