Pakistan' s meeting with Kashmir separatists threaten peace talks
SRINAGAR (India) • Pakistan invited separatists from India's disputed Kashmir region for a meeting in a move that risks further straining efforts to restart peace talks ahead of a rare meeting between top security officials from the nuclear-armed neighbours.
India called off peace talks with Pakistan a year ago after it consulted the separatists before a meeting between their foreign secretaries. Hardline Kashmiri separatist Syed Ali Shah Geelani is among the leaders invited to the Pakistan High Commission on Sunday, the day talks between the security officials are due to start, said Mr Ayaz Akbar, a spokesman for the separatists.
Bangladesh arrests three lawyers over militant funding
DHAKA • Bangladesh has arrested three Supreme Court lawyers for allegedly passing thousands of dollars to a new Islamic militant group in the port city of Chittagong, police said yesterday. The three lawyers, including a British-trained woman barrister, were picked up in Dhaka on Tuesday night by Bangladesh's Rapid Action Battalion, which is tasked with tackling militancy in the country.
Philippine troops clash with Abu Sayyaf militants
•ZAMBOANGA (Philippines) • Soldiers clashed with Abu Sayyaf militants on two islands in the southern Philippines, leaving 20 of the rebels dead, even as fighting continued to rage, the military said yesterday.
The latest battle took place in Indanan town on Jolo Island, where troops, seeking to rescue hostages, encountered about 199 members of the Al-Qaeda-linked group, said Brigadier General Alan Arrojado, commander of the island's military task force. The Abu Sayyaf is currently holding at least seven hostages, said the military.
HK Occupy student leaders claim they have been charged
HONG KONG • Two key figures in Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement have been charged with illegal assembly almost a year after students stormed government headquarters, one of the activists said yesterday.
Alex Chow, 25, former leader of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, one of the groups leading protests that became known as the Occupy movement, said he and teenager Joshua Wong had been charged formally. Wong, 18, is leader of the student group Scholarism. Police declined to confirm the charges, but said investigations were ongoing, and there could be further arrests.