UK refugee status for ex-Maldives leader
COLOMBO • Britain has granted refugee status to Mohamed Nasheed, the former president of the Maldives who was jailed last year after a trial that drew international criticism, his lawyer said yesterday.
Nasheed, the Maldives' first democratically elected president, was allowed to go to Britain in January for medical treatment after President Abdulla Yameen came under international pressure to let him leave.
Nasheed was jailed for 13 years on terrorism charges, after illegally ordering the arrest of a judge in a trial that put the spotlight on instability in the Indian Ocean archipelago known as a paradise for rich tourists.
"Nasheed has been granted political refugee status in the UK," his lawyer Hasan Latheef told Reuters from the capital, Male.
Taleban figures meet over succession
KABUL • Senior Afghan Taleban figures were meeting yesterday to agree on a successor to Mullah Akhtar Mansour, the leader of the militant movement whom United States President Barack Obama confirmed had been killed in an American air strike in Pakistan at the weekend.
The Taleban has so far not made an official statement on the fate of Mansour, who assumed the leadership only last year.
But senior members have confirmed that their main leadership council has been meeting to discuss the succession in a bid to prevent factional splits from fragmenting the movement.
Although some individual Taleban members have been quoted in media reports as saying that Mansour was killed, the group's leadership, keenly aware of the need to limit splits, has not issued its own confirmation.
Hunt on for gang that looted ATMs in Japan
TOKYO • A manhunt is under way for criminals who looted millions from Japan's cash machines nationwide in an hours-long heist, officials and reports said yesterday.
Armed with fake credit-card details from South Africa's Standard Bank, the thieves hit 1,400 convenience store ATMs in a coordinated attack earlier this month.
The international gang members, reportedly numbering around 100 people, each made a series of withdrawals in less than three hours, Japanese media said, with a total haul of 1.4 billion yen (S$18 million).
It was not clear how the gang made off with the equivalent of millions of dollars so quickly as the cash machines usually limit withdrawals to 100,000 yen a day.
China eyes central bank veteran for IMF
BEIJING • China plans to nominate Mr Zhang Tao, a central bank veteran with years of experience at multilateral development banks, to replace International Monetary Fund (IMF) deputy managing director Zhu Min, Caixin magazine reported.
Mr Zhang would succeed Mr Zhu when the latter's term at the IMF is up in July, according to Caixin, which did not say where it got the information.
Mr Zhang was just promoted to deputy governor of the People's Bank of China, a role that Mr Zhu had before he moved to the IMF job.