- - Monday, April 4, 2011

PHILIPPINES

Gunmen free child, hold 12 other hostages

MANILA | Armed tribesmen freed a boy after getting food and water Monday but kept at least 12 other hostages in jungle captivity to demand the release of jailed relatives and friends in the southern Philippines, a police official said.

The release of 12-year-old Marvin Jay Corvera encouraged officials to continue negotiating with five Manobo tribesmen for the freedom of the captives snatched at gunpoint Friday and taken to a hilly forest in Prosperidad town in southeastern Agusan del Sur province.

Most of the captives are grade school teachers, but one still being held is a sick 10-year-old girl.

Army and police special forces have been deployed in case the talks collapse.

VIETNAM

Dissident lawyer gets seven years in prison

HANOI | A dissident lawyer and son of a Vietnamese communist revolutionary leader was sentenced to seven years in prison and another three years house arrest Monday after calling for multi-party democracy.

Cu Huy Ha Vu was sentenced in a dramatic one-day trial in Hanoi that saw one of his defense attorneys ejected by the judge and his other three lawyers walk out in protest. Vu was left alone to defend himself and had several heated exchanges with the judge.

Vu, 53, is the son of Cu Huy Can, a famous poet and revolutionary comrade of Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh when he declared independence from France in 1945.

CONGO

20 dead in crash of United Nations plane

KINSHASA | A United Nations plane crashed while trying to land at the airport serving Congo’s capital Kinshasa on Monday, killing least 20 people, a government official said.

The plane lost control in high winds and left the runway, Health Ministry official Joseph Kiboko, said. At least 20 of the 32 passengers and three crew personnel died in the crash, he said.

A witness said the plane broke apart and caught fire.

BANGLADESH

Enraged Islamists protest equal rights for women

DHAKA | Police clashed with demonstrators and arrested dozens in Bangladesh, as a hard-line Muslim group enforced a paralyzing general strike Monday against a new policy giving women equal inheritance rights.

The protesters, mostly students of Islamic schools, smashed vehicles, set fire to a fuel station and attacked a convoy of devotees on their way to an Islamic shrine in southeastern Bangladesh, police said. Police fired tear gas and used batons to disperse protesters in various parts of the country.

Dozens were injured in clashes across the country during the strike, police said.

CYPRUS

Convicted killer guilty of stealing dead president’s body

NICOSIA | A jailed murderer ordered his brother to dig up the corpse of the island’s former president and hide it, so he could negotiate his own release from prison, a court ruled Monday.

The court found the convicted killer, Antonis Prokopiou Kitas, his brother, Mamas, and a third man, Sarbjit Singh of India, guilty of stealing the body of Tassos Papadopoulos, whose corpse was snatched from a Nicosia cemetery during an overnight storm in December 2009. It was reburied three months later, after police found his body and arrested the suspects.

Sentencing will be April 18.

From wire dispatches and staff reports