Doctors stopped from aiding Rakhine victims
BANGKOK - Doctors Without Borders said yesterday its teams had been threatened and stopped from reaching areas in Myanmar's Rakhine state, which has been hit by communal bloodshed, leaving tens of thousands without essential health care. The group said threats in letters, pamphlets and on Facebook used "highly vitriolic" language which caused staff to fear for their safety. AFP
Pakistani referendum against Taliban
KARACHI - A Pakistani political party has announced an unofficial nationwide "referendum" asking people whether they want their country to follow the ideology of the Taliban. The secular Muttahida Qaumi Movement, an ally of the ruling Pakistan People's Party, has been openly critical of the Pakistani Taliban. The party was arranging for voting at its offices across the country and online and by SMS. AFP
Philippines probes 60 'private armies'
MANILA - Philippine police have identified 60 suspected "private armies" that could use violence to influence next year's national elections. The groups consist of government-supported militiamen, insurgents, rogue police or soldiers who do politician's bidding to keep them in power. AFP
No freedom for youth in royal insult case
KUALA LUMPUR - The family of a Malaysian man detained for allegedly insulting a state sultan on Facebook has called for his release. Police arrested Ahmad Abdul Jalil, 27, in Kuala Lumpur and took him to Johor. He was freed briefly yesterday after a Johor magistrate court refused to extend his remand order but police immediately arrested him again. AP