MH370 talks pave way for ministers' meeting
KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysian, Chinese and Australian officials yesterday wrapped up two days of talks on the deep-sea search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 but made no announcements, amid expectations the operation will finish by August.
Officials said the closed-door gathering in Malaysia's administrative capital Putrajaya paves the way for a tripartite meeting of transport ministers in the near future in which search plans could be spelt out.
Manila, communists to declare ceasefire
DAVAO (Philippines) • The Philippines and communist guerillas are planning to each declare ceasefires before formal peace talks resume next month in Norway, the first in 30 years, government and rebel negotiators said yesterday.
The Philippines has been talking on and off since 1986 with the National Democratic Front, the political arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines, to end nearly 50 years of conflict that has killed more than 40,000 people.
The process stalled four years ago, when Manila declined to free political prisoners.
Anhui bans booze at official banquets
SHANGHAI • A county government in eastern China's Anhui province has banned all alcoholic beverages from official banquets, except those held to attract investment or for foreign affairs, the China Daily reported yesterday.
The banquet booze ban was considered to be the toughest measure of its kind yet across China, which is cracking down on corruption and high living among senior officials.
Afghan Taleban abducts 25 men
KABUL • Taleban fighters in the southern Afghan province of Helmand stopped vehicles and detained at least 25 people, officials said yesterday, as the insurgents continued a series of abductions on Afghanistan's highways over the past few weeks.
Mr Omar Zwak, a spokesman for the governor of Helmand, said 25 men were being held by the Taleban. Police and army forces were searching for the men.