Scores injured in strike
Scores of people were injured as violence raged across the country yesterday, the last of a three-day strike called by opposition activists in a bid to pressure Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to resign. The Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industries expressed concern over the latest crisis that has killed at least 15 people since the weekend and urged both the government and opposition to resolve disputes through dialogue. Homemade bombs exploded in parts of the country yesterday, injuring a police official in the capital, said Sheikh Maruf Hasan, a Dhaka Metropolitan official.
Abhisit vows legal fight
Former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his former deputy Suthep Thaugsuban yesterday vowed to fight any legal charges against them for their alleged role in the death of anti-government demonstrators during a bloody 2010 crackdown. Prosecutors announced on Monday that they would indict the pair for their alleged role in the death of some of the 90 people, mostly protesters. Abhisit told reporters that he and Suthep are innocent in part because a Bangkok city court ruled at the time that the protest, which had shut down a vast swath of downtown Bangkok for more than two months, was unlawful. “We will not run away. We are confident in our innocence,” he said.
Cadre suspended for bills
A Chinese Communist Party official has been suspended after running up unpaid bills of US$115,000 at a specialty pig trotter restaurant, media reports said on Monday. Han Junhong, the party secretary in Wangluo, Henan Province, racked up the 700,450 yuan account with a series of banquets over three years, the Global Times said, adding the establishment was the designated venue for official functions in the town. Owner Geng Weijie was forced to close his doors because of the cash shortfall, and resorted to hanging red banners outside to shame Han into paying up. “I am seriously ill, I have a small child, and my family has debts to pay,” the Beijing News quoted Geng, 42, as saying. The bill was paid the next day, and Han suspended, the Global Times said.
Drone strike kills militant
A senior militant in charge of suicide attacks for al-Shabaab rebels has been killed in a drone strike in southern Somalia, a Somalian government official said yesterday. Interior Minister Abdikarin Hussein Guled told government radio that the intelligence services have been tracking Ibrahim Ali Abdi, also known as Anta-Anta, for some time before the strike took place on Monday. The minister did not say who carried out the attack, but an official in Washington said the US army carried out a drone strike targeting al-Shabaab in Somalia on Monday.
Abbott visits Afghanistan
Prime Minister Tony Abbott declared the nation’s longest war at an end during a surprise visit to Afghanistan on Monday, with more than 1,000 troops to return home before Christmas in a “bitter-sweet” withdrawal. “Australia’s longest war is ending, not with victory, not with defeat, but with, we hope, an Afghanistan that’s better for our presence here,” Abbott said at the Australian Defence Force mission in Uruzgan Province. In an official statement released yesterday, Abbott said the mission had been critical to national security. “We have ... worked with our allies to make the world a safer place,” he said.