Briefs, September 14, 2012

PUBLISHED : Friday, 14 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 14 September, 2012, 2:39am

Plea on refugee rights for asylum-seekers

BANGKOK - Thailand should consider granting refugee status to more than 1 million people who have fled from Myanmar and are vulnerable to abuse under their current status, Human Rights Watch said. It also suggested the UN's refugee agency be more assertive in certifying that many of those who have left their homeland are genuine asylum-seekers in need of protection. HRW's refugee programme director Bill Frelick said Thailand now restricts the movement of about 140,000 people who live in border refugee camps and are barred from working. AP

Militants arrested over murders and kidnap

MANILA - Two al-Qaeda-linked militants have been arrested in the Philippines over a 2001 kidnapping of a group of tourists in which two American hostages were murdered, a military official said. The Abu Sayyaf members were arrested on the southern island of Mindanao following an 11-year hunt for the killers of Christian missionary Martin Burnham and fellow US citizen, Peru-born Guillermo Sobero. Jojo Imam Pai and a second suspect identified only as "Aling" are to stand trial for the double murder and kidnapping of 20 tourists. AFP

Transgender TV show axed after protests

SEOUL - A South Korean television channel said it had pulled the plug on a new talk show aimed at the transgender community, following strong objections from viewers. KBS Joy said it had reached the decision after "taking viewers' opinions into account". The midnight programme, titled XY That Girl, was only launched last week, but the first airing sparked uproar from conservative groups, who staged protests outside the studios and took out newspaper ads denouncing the show. AFP

Owners face charges over factory disaster

KARACHI - Pakistani police say they have registered a murder case against the owners and managers of a garment factory in the southern city of Karachi where a fire killed 258 people. Police are investigating reports that many of the factory's exit doors were locked at the time of the fire. Many escape routes were blocked with large bundles of cloth and basic safety rules weren't followed. Police are also investigating government officials who failed to enforce fire safety regulations. AP

Road workers gunned down by bike gang

QUETTA - Nine labourers were killed when gunmen riding on motorbikes sprayed bullets at road workers in Pakistan's troubled southwestern province of Baluchistan, officials said. A group of four or five armed men came to the site of road building works in the town of Dasht, about 25 kilometres south of the provincial capital Quetta, and opened fire, an official said. AFP