Five killed in Pak inferno


A fire raged through a house in eastern Pakistan on Friday, killing five people including three children, a police official said. Two children and a woman were also injured in the blaze in a residential area of Tibi in Lahore, the capital of Pakistan’s eastern Punjab province, police official Mohammed Sakhawat said. He said police were investigating the cause of the fire. — AP

Anwar wins suit


Malaysia’s dissident politician Anwar Ibrahim has won a defamation suit against the author of a book which contained allegations of sexual misconduct against the former deputy prime minister, his lawyer said on Friday. Judge Hishamuddin Yunus ruled in Anwar’s favour and also awarded him costs after lawyers for writer Khalid Jefri failed to turn up for a hearing on Thursday, Anwar’s lawyer Sankara Nair said. “The judge will fix another date to decide on the quantum of damages Khalid must pay to Anwar.” — AP

Macau casino shootout


Macau police were involved in a car chase and a shootout on Friday after investigating a suspected robbery outside a hotel casino in the former Portuguese territory, police said. A 40-year-old Hong Kong man, believed to have lost a large amount of money from gambling in New Century casino, threatened an officer with his gun before taking off in a car. A car chase and a gun battle between the suspect and police followed. During the chase, one officer shot at the car which eventually lost control and crashed into a wall, injuring the occupant. — AFP

Soldiers face rape rap


Six Malaysian soldiers were charged with the gang rape of an 18-year-old woman, a newspaper reported on Friday. The six men, who were attached to an artillery unit, appeared in court in Seremban district on Thursday, The Star reported. Prosecutors alleged that the six soldiers gang raped an 18-year-old woman near Seremban on New Year’s day, the report said. If convicted, the soldiers could face jail terms of up to 20 years and lashing with a rattan cane. — AP

S’pore navy gets copters


Singapore has acquired six advanced Sikorsky S-70B naval helicopters for delivery between 2008 and 2010, the Ministry of Defence said on Friday. The US-made helicopters will operate off the navy’s new French-built frigates and will be equipped with anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare sensors and weapons, a ministry statement said. Singapore already has Southeast Asia’s most modern armed forces and tested its air and sea assets extensively when it sent rescue and relief missions to Indonesia after last month’s deadly tsunami. — AFP

1 held for Dostum attack


Police investigating a failed suicide attack on an anti-Taliban warlord said on Friday they were questioning a Bangladeshi man over the incident, while a hospital said all but one of the 25 people wounded were out of danger. The victims were hurt on Thursday when a man with explosives hidden under his clothes blew himself up near Uzbek strongman Abdul Rashid Dostum after open-air prayers in the northern city of Sheberghan. Dostum was unharmed. Provincial police chief Mohammed Nader Fahimi said the Bangladeshi man picked up in a market in the city just after the attack was still being questioned. — AP

China space mission


China says its second manned space mission will take place in either September or October, with two astronauts in orbit for up to five days. Shenzhou 6 will have a four or five-day flight with two astronauts aboard, the official Xinhua News Agency said on Thursday, citing Sun Laiyan, director of the China National Space Administration. The astronauts will carry out unspecified scientific tests while in orbit, the news agency said. The government said earlier it hoped to carry out the flight before the end of 2005. — AP