Nawaz Sharif's brother will not take over as PM
LAHORE • The brother of ousted Pakistani leader Nawaz Sharif will not contest a parliamentary by-election for the vacant seat, party sources said yesterday, effectively scuttling previous plans for him to take over as prime minister next month.
Mr Sharif and his party leadership have decided that his brother, Mr Shahbaz Sharif, should continue in his role as chief minister of the politically vital Punjab province, which accounts for over half of Pakistan's 190 million people.
KL protests deportation of suspected militants
KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysia has complained to Turkey about the deportation of several suspected militants to Kuala Lumpur without warning, a security official said yesterday as the police stepped up checks ahead of the SEA Games that start in the capital this month.
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The suspects, all foreigners, were deported from Turkey after being caught trying to enter Syria to join up with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria group, the security source said.
China to set up first Mars simulation base
XINING (China) • China will establish the country's first Mars simulation base in north-west China's Qinghai province, the local government said yesterday.
The base will be located in the red cliff region in Da Qaidam (also known as Dachaidan) district in the Mongolian-Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Haixi.
13 beaches in HK closed after palm-oil spill
HONG KONG • Hong Kong has closed more than a dozen beaches after a palm-oil spill washed foul-smelling, Styrofoam-like clumps ashore, the latest environmental disaster to hit its waters. The city closed two more beaches in the south of the island yesterday, bringing the number of beaches shut to 13 since two vessels collided in the Pearl River estuary.