Taliban ‘likes’ Facebook
Facebook has taken down a page used by the Islamist guerrillas of the Pakistani Taliban to recruit new fighters, a spokesman for the US-based social network site told reporters on Wednesday. Earlier, the US-based SITE Intelligence Group said the Umar Media Tehreek-e-Taliban (TPP) page used Facebook as a recruitment tool. This month, 270 users clicked a link to say they “like” the page. The account appeared to have been created in September and has just a handful of messages, written in English. “At Facebook, we have rules that bar direct statements of hate, attacks on private individuals and groups, and the promotion of terrorism,” a Facebook statement said. In Pakistan, TPP spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told reporters this month that the faction was “temporarily” using the page “to fulfil its requirements” before launching its own Web site.
UN team in Tehran for talks
A team from the UN atomic watchdog led by chief inspector Herman Nackaerts arrived early yesterday in the country for talks with nuclear officials over the government’s controversial nuclear program, the semi-official ISNA news agency reported. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says the aim of the talks is to sign an agreement on a “structured approach,” giving IAEA inspectors broader access to sites and people working on the nuclear program. However, Tehran said that the trip will focus on discussions regarding “Iran’s nuclear rights as well as its peaceful nuclear activities,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said. However, “certain issues that have possibly become a source of concern for [IAEA] officials can also be discussed,” Mehmanparast added on Tuesday.
Jackie Chan under fire
Action hero Jackie Chan (成龍) provoked a furious outcry from locals yesterday after reportedly suggesting in a Chinese magazine interview that protests in his native city should be restricted. “Hong Kong has become a city of protest. The whole world used to say it was South Korea. It is now Hong Kong,” the South China Morning Post quoted Chan as saying in an interview with Guangzhou, China-based Southern People Weekly magazine on Tuesday. “People scold China’s leaders, or anything else they like, and protest against everything. The authorities should stipulate what issues people can protest over and on what issues it is not allowed.” The Rush Hour star, known for his martial arts skills, faced a counter-attack from the city-state’s politicians and academics, who said he was ignorant of the value of freedom cherished by the city’s 7 million people.
Typhoon victims found adrift
Low-flying search planes spotted three fishermen drifting at sea and flashing mirrors to signal for help, as authorities stepped up the search for 261 others missing more than a week after a typhoon killed hundreds in the south of the country. Indonesia sent a ship to join the search for the fishermen, who may have been swept toward the Celebes Sea from the Pacific Ocean off Mindanao Island, regional military spokesman Captain Severino David said. A total of 35 fishermen have been rescued in the past three days, David said on Wednesday. There were more than 300 tuna fishermen about 220km east of Davao Oriental province as early as October. Typhoon Bopha’s top winds of 210km per hour apparently made it difficult for them to return to shore. Nearly 900 people are still missing.