Manila to get patrol boats
Tokyo plans to donate patrol boats costing ￥1 billion (US$11 million) each to the Philippines, ramping up regional efforts to monitor China’s maritime activity in disputed waters, the Nikkei Shimbun said yesterday. The government plans to finance the deal in its fiscal 2013 budget starting in April and hopes to officially sign it early next year, the newspaper said. The report did not specify the number of boats on offer. Both countries are locked in separate territorial disputes with China. A draft budget of ￥2.5 billion has also been alloted for the Japan Coast Guard to train Filipino and Vietnamese personnel as part of additional efforts to boost security cooperation with Southeast Asia, the Nikkei said.
Prison abuse widespread
An official investigation into torture in prisons has found widespread abuse, President Hamid Karzai said on Sunday, following a UN report into the problem. “According to the report of the commission of inquiry, half of the prisoners interviewed complained of mistreatment, harassment and even torture during their detention,” the president’s office said in a statement. It described prisoners’ access to lawyers as “problematic,” but made no conclusions or recommendations. Karzai ordered the probe after the UN report last month showed that 326 of 635 prisoners interviewed said they had been abused, including 80 minors. Fourteen types of torture were described in the report, including beatings with cables and pipes, attacks on the genitals, threats of execution or rape and electric shocks.
Bus crash kills 17 pilgrims
A bus carrying pilgrims to the beach resort town of Cox’s Bazaar yesterday plunged into a dried-up river, killing at least 17 people and injuring another 26, police said. The bus crashed into the Matamuhuri’s parched river bed after the driver lost control of the vehicle, which then smashed through railings on a bridge. “So far, we have 17 people dead. Sixteen died on the spot and another on the way to the hospital,” Cox’s Bazaar police chief Azad Miah said, adding that 18 of the 26 people injured had been admitted to hospital.
French tourist’s body found
Police have launched a murder investigation after the naked body of a 25-year-old female French tourist was found floating in a river, officials said yesterday. The victim was found on Sunday in the southern province of Kampot, a day after she was last seen alive leaving her guest house by bicycle, provincial deputy police chief In Chiva said. “We conclude that it is a murder case because she was seriously hacked on the forehead,” he said, adding that there were also injuries on the victim’s arms. The French embassy said the family had been informed.
Five killed in safety drill
A lifeboat being used on a safety drill aboard a cruise ship fell about 20m into a port on Sunday when a cable snapped, trapping crew members beneath it and killing five of them, officials said. None of the hundreds of passengers aboard the British-operated vessel were involved in the accident, which also injured three crew members, the port authority said. Divers raced to the lifeboat, which had hit the water upside down, recovering four bodies and trying without success to revive a fifth crewman who had stopped breathing, the authority said. The dead crewmen included three Indonesians, a Filipino and a Ghanian, it said.