Briefs, October 18, 2012

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 18 October, 2012, 2:51am

Aquino hoping for improved Beijing ties

MANILA - Philippine President Benigno Aquino has said he hopes the new leaders who take over China next month can improve ties strained following a stand-off last year at a disputed shoal in the South China Sea. Relations had slightly improved due to recent talks, Aquino said, and since Philippine ships pulled out of the Scarborough Shoal. He said Chinese vessels had been in and out but there was freedom of navigation. But the core issue - who has sovereign rights over the tiny, uninhabited rocks off the northern Philippine island of Luzon - has not been resolved and overshadows relations. AP


Wanted Tamil Tigers leader is released

COLOMBO - The last leader of Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers, who is wanted by India over the assassination of former premier Rajiv Gandhi, has been freed from military custody. Selvarasa Pathmanathan, who was arrested in August 2009 and who has an Interpol arrest warrant initiated by India against him, was no longer in detention and was free to carry out work for a charity he had formed, the defence ministry said. Pathmanathan, the chief international arms buyer for the Tigers, was appointed the head of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam by its elusive leader Velupillai Prabhakaran just before he was killed by Sri Lankan troops in 2009. AFP


Director to appeal after 'offensive' film banned

SINGAPORE - The director of a satirical film banned in Singapore on racial grounds said he would appeal the decision, with the crew urging censors to respect the "intelligence" of moviegoers. A review panel last week banned Ken Kwek's Sex.Violence.FamilyValues - a compendium of three short stories - three days before its theatrical release, despite having been previously rated suitable for viewers aged 18 and above. The Media Development Authority, a watchdog agency, said the panel found some dialogue portions in Porn Masala, one of the stories in the 47-minute production, offensive to the Indian community. AFP


Yacht designer hacked to death in his home

MANILA - An Australian yacht designer has been hacked to death inside his house in the northern Philippines. A neighbour found the body of 81-year-old Joe Adams and blood scattered on the floor of his two-storey house in the village of Tuding in Benguet province's Itogon township. Hack wounds on Adams' hands suggest he tried to fight off attackers armed with a machete. Police were investigating the motive for the killing and forensic experts were examining possible fingerprints left at the scene. AP