Asia Cast for Monday 12th October





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Published on Oct 12, 2009

In this Bulletin

- Irish priest kidnapped in Philippines;
- Suspected Maoists launch attacks in India; and
- Clinton warning to Afghan leader.

Police and soldiers have begun a manhunt for a well-loved, 78-year-old Irish priest in the southern Philippines who is believed to have been kidnapped by Islamic militants.

Six gunmen snatched Michael Sinnott while he was doing his early evening exercise routine on Sunday at his home near Pagadian city in Zamboanga del Sur province, authorities said.

While nobody has claimed responsibility for the abduction, police and military said they suspect that either the Al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group or the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front was involved.


The top United Nations official in Afghanistan defended himself against allegations that he has been wary to publicly address problems in the countrys recent presidential election.

Clarifying his position at a news conference in Kabul, Kai Eide admitted that the August 20 vote was marred by widespread fraud.

His comments come a week after Peter Galbraith, his recently fired deputy, wrote a sarcastic op-ed in The Washington Post, accusing the United Nations of trying to cover up the real reason he was fired. Galbraith blamed Eide for denying or playing down the fraud in the election because he was concerned that even discussing the fraud might inflame tensions in the country.


Ahead of a planned crackdown by paramilitaries, suspected Maoists blew up a railway track, a bridge and fired at a bus on Monday in eastern India.

The attacks were in mineral-rich Jharkhand state, said S.N. Pradhan, inspector general of police. The inspector general also stated that the rebels blocked a highway and burned down a truck before fleeing.

Maoists have called for a two-day strike over what they allege is an undemocratic government plan to launch an offensive in areas under their control, Pradhan said. They are also protesting the arrest of some of their senior leaders, he added.

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US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said whoever wins Afghanistans recent election will be expected to do more to address the countrys problems.

According to Mrs. Clinton, the next leader needs to build better relationships with the US, the army and the Afghan people.

Mrs.Clinton also said Americas goal in Afghanistan was still to defeat al-Qaeda. She also went on to say that the current US review of the conflict was leading to some welcome clarity on the best tactics.


Pakistan will launch an operation against militants in restive South Waziristan imminently, their Interior Minister has announced.

The Minister was speaking after troops stormed a building at an army base in Rawalpindi, rescuing dozens of people taken hostage in an attack by militants.

Mr. Malik blamed the attack, in which 19 died, on the Taliban and al-Qaeda, whose strongholds are in South Waziristan.

One militant, thought to be the groups leader, was arrested.

Mr. Malik said the government had given its approval to an operation in South Waziristan, and it was now up to the army to decide on its timing.


The Australian government is to grant refugee status to 42 Afghan men who survived a boat explosion that killed five other asylum seekers in April.

This month, the police announced that passengers had deliberately set fire to the boat after it had been intercepted by the Australian navy.

Officers have said there was insufficient evidence to bring charges.

The government declared the men could lose their visas if new evidence emerges that they were involved in the explosion.

The boat was carrying 47 Afghan asylum seekers and two Indonesian crew members when it exploded.


Asia Cast Keeping you across the top headlines from Asia and the world.


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