UK poisoning suspects 'not agents'
VLADIVOSTOK • Russian President Vladimir Putin rejected British allegations that the Russians suspected of carrying out a nerve-agent attack on a former spy in Britain are intelligence agents and called on them to go public, taking a defiant tone in his first official comments on the charges.
"We know who they are. We found them," Mr Putin told an economic forum in Vladivostok. "There's nothing unusual or criminal there, I assure you. We'll see soon enough," he said. "They are civilians, of course," he added. "I would like to appeal to them, so they'll hear it today. Let them come forward to speak to any media," Mr Putin said.
Hours later, Russian state television said it had contacted one of the men and he said he might speak publicly next week.
3 die as car ploughs into China crowd
BEIJING • Three people died and 43 were injured when a car ploughed into a crowded square in southern China yesterday, the local government said, adding that police have detained the driver.
The car drove onto the square in Mishui town, part of Hengyang city in Hunan province, shortly before 8pm local time, the Hengyang government said in a statement. The driver had a criminal record, it added.
Video images carried on state media showed several bodies on the ground as bystanders tended to some of them. There was no indication in the government statement or state media reports that the incident was terror-related.
Super typhoon heads to Philippines
HONG KONG • A super typhoon packing winds of more than 240kmh is heading towards the Philippines, picking up speed over the Pacific on a route that also has Taiwan and the heavily populated south-eastern coast of China in its sights.
Maximum Category 5 typhoon Mangkhut is on track to hit the northern Philippines with its strongest winds tomorrow before striking Taiwan and then possibly veering south towards Hong Kong and mainland China.
As many as 43 million people could be exposed to cyclone-strength winds, according to the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System. Its winds are expected to intensify today and tomorrow before weakening on Saturday, the Hong Kong Observatory said.