Scribe held for spying

Hong Kong: Chinese authorities on Friday arrested a Hong Kong-based journalist on charges of espionage for Taiwan, reports Xinhua. The State Security Bureau of the Beijing Municipality

that carried out the arrest said Cheng Cheong was recruited by Taiwan’s National Security Bureau in 2000 and given an alias, Chen Yuanchun. DPA adds that Beijing said Cheng, 55, a correspondent for Singapore’s The Straits Times newspaper, had made a full confession and admitted spying for Taiwan’s government. — DPA

China floods claim 3

BEIJING: Flooding triggered by heavy rains in central China has killed at least three people and left seven missing, the government said on Friday. The rains in 24 cities and counties in Hubei province also wrecked 1,514 houses and caused an estimated $11.2 million in damage, the official Xinhua News Agency said, citing local officials. The report did not say how the three fatalities occurred or give details about the missing. — AP

Typhoon near Taiwan

TAIPEI: Typhoon Matsa dumped torrential rains on northern Taiwan as it swirled in the sea near the island on Friday, shutting down financial markets and grounding several international

flights, officials said. At 5 pm (0900 GMT), the typhoon was centered in the Pacific Ocean about 260 km northeast of the island, and was heading northwest toward the eastern Chinese

city of Shanghai, the Central Weather Bureau said. — AP

Briton, Swedes freed

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani authorities have deported a British author and two Swedish filmmakers who said they were detained for 16 days in harsh conditions and without consular access. Tahir Shah, a British writer of Afghan origin, and Leon Flamholc and his son David — London-based Swedish documentary filmmakers — said military police detained them on July 18 while they were filming in Peshawar, near the Afghan border. They were repatriated after a probe found they’d been working without notifying authorities. — AP