Three held for gang-rape


Three officials of Pakistan Petroleum Ltd have been arrested in connection with the alleged gang-rape of a female doctor at a hospital run by the state-run company in a remote southwestern region, police said on Friday. Ghulam Mahmood Dogar, a senior police official, said they have arrested PPL’s plant manager and two officials posted at Sui for “destroying and concealing evidence” after the woman’s rape. — AP

HK’s richest lady in court


Hong Kong’s richest woman, Nina Wang, was formally charged on Friday for allegedly forging her late husband’s will in an attempt to secure his multimillion dollar fortune, officials said. Wang, chairwoman of Chinachem Group, appeared in court on charges of forgery and perverting the course of justice, a court document showed. — AP

16 suspected ultras held


Police in Pakistan said on Friday they have arrested 16 Afghan nationals in overnight raids in Quetta on suspicion of links with the Taliban and Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda network. The suspects were captured from three neighbourhoods of the city on Thursday and were being interrogated, said Chaudhry Mohammed Yaqub, the police chief in southwestern Baluchistan province. — AP

China to free HK politico


Mainland China on Friday planned to release a Hong Kong pro-democracy politician detained for allegedly patronising a prostitute, members of his political party said. Alex Ho Wai-to’s arrest on August 13 sparked a major controversy because he was running in Hong Kong’s hotly contested legislative election when he was detained. Without a trial, Ho was sentenced to six months of “re-education through labour.” On Friday, a lawmaker in Ho’s Democratic Party, Lee Wing Tat, told Commercial Radio that Ho’s wife was informed on Thursday that Chinese authorities would release the politician on Friday. — AP

Taipei, Grenada ties


Taiwan formally severed ties with Grenada and accused the tiny Caribbean island of using the rivalry between China and Taiwan to get more financial aid. Grenada formally established diplomatic relations with China last week, a decision that required the Caribbean country to break its two-decade ties with Taiwan. “In order to uphold our national interests and dignity, the government of Taiwan has decided to sever diplomatic relations with Grenada,” the Taiwanese Embassy said on Thursday. — AP

Natwar to visit Kabul


External affairs minister K Natwar Singh will pay a brief visit to Afghanistan on Feb 15 en route to Pakistan. Singh will arrive in Kabul in the morning and leave for Islamabad in the evening for a two-day visit after spending about nine hours in Kabul. Officials said he would hold talks with president Hamid Karzai, vice-president Ahmad Zia Masood and foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah. — HNS

Pak to crush rebellion


Pakistan is to take the most drastic step yet in its bid to crush a deadly tribal rebellion, forcibly evicting all residents within 15 kilometres of the country’s biggest gas field. The military announced it would clear 500 dwellings from the area around the gas plant in southwestern Baluchistan province, saying the measure would prevent further attacks and protect residents from a possible explosion. — AFP

Foundry blast claims 5


Five people, including three children, were killed after an explosion on Friday at an illegal firecracker workshop in Dingzhou city in north China’s Hebei province, the official Xinhua news agency reported. Investigations found the morning explosion was caused by illegal production of firecrackers by the sister of a villager named Gao Huiming, Xinhua said. — AFP