Three hostages released
Two Chinese and an Algerian abducted from a Sudanese oilfield have been released after two weeks in captivity, official media said on Friday in Khartoum. The three men were kidnapped by “outlaws” in West Kordofan state on April 18, the SUNA news agency said. It released a photograph of the trio disembarking from an airplane in Khartoum. The Algerian and one of the Chinese were dressed in blue coveralls of the type worn by oil technicians, while the other Chinese wore a T-shirt over blue coverall pants. The Algerian smiled and waved, and one of the Chinese also grinned. “Now they are in Khartoum,” a Chinese embassy official told reporters, adding that they had been freed on Thursday. “They are in good condition,” the official said. SUNA quoted Oil Minister Makawi Mohammed Awad as saying five Sudanese petroleum technicians kidnapped at the same time as the foreigners were expected to be released by yesterday. The embassy official said conflicting information has been provided as to who abducted the men.
Quake rattles island chain
A magnitude 6 earthquake jolted parts of eastern Indonesia on Friday, the US Geological Survey (USGS) reported, but local officials said there was no risk of a tsunami. The quake struck at 4:43pm local time, 70km south-southeast of Namela in the Maluku chain of islands at a depth of 54km, the USGS said. “The quake’s epicenter was in the sea and was mildly felt in the cities of Ambon, Namlea and Namrole,” Tri Handayani, an official from Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency, told reporters, adding that there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties. She said there was no risk of a tsunami.
Osaka banker kills self
A Japanese banker who lost at least US$1.5 million that he had persuaded clients to invest off his employer’s books has killed himself, Resona Bank said on Friday. The unnamed 25-year-old told three clients of the Osaka-based bank last year that he could generate profits if they entrusted their cash to him. The banker from the firm’s Ikebukuro branch in Tokyo collected a total of ￥155 million (US$1.51 million) from them without informing his superiors, a bank spokesman said. “But most of the money appeared to be lost as he allegedly used the funds in foreign exchange and other trading,” the spokesman said. In January, the bank questioned him over the case after one of the three clients complained that he was unable to contact the banker. The following day, the man killed himself, the spokesman said. The bank prohibits its employees from collecting funds for investment without permission.
Rohingya citizenship urged
The top UN envoy on Myanmar says the top priority for Muslims in the violence-torn state of Rakhine who are considered illegal immigrants is to get the path to citizenship. Vijay Nambiar, the secretary-general’s special adviser on Myanmar, said in a speech on Thursday to the International Peace Institute that unless this is done, the security of Rohingya Muslims will remain threatened “and that is sure to affect the international reputation of the country.” Myanmar, a predominantly Buddhist nation which only recently emerged from a half-century of military rule, considers Rohingya Muslims to be from Bangladesh and denies them citizenship and related rights, even though many families arrived generations ago.