Briefs, November 15, 2012

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 November, 2012, 2:40am

Japan heading for December election

TOKYO - Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said he would dissolve the Diet on Friday, paving the way for an election next month. Speaking in parliament, Noda said he would dissolve the lower house if a deal was reached to cut the number of lawmakers in the chamber. Former premier Shinzo Abe, head of the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party, agreed. Bloomberg

President Lee's son to be probed over tax

SEOUL - South Korean prosecutors said yesterday they would refer President Lee Myung-bak's only son to the tax authorities as they handed down indictments over a project to build Lee's retirement home. Although Lee Si-hyung was not among the three people indicted, prosecutors said his tax records would be checked. AFP

450 prisoners freed before Obama visit

YANGON - Myanmar will release 450 prisoners just days before US President Barack Obama arrives on a visit. "The announcement will be printed tomorrow in the state-run newspaper," presidential office spokesman Zaw Htay said. Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Obama would discuss the deadly sectarian violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state. AFP

Taliban prisoners may be key to Afghan peace

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan agreed in talks with Afghan peace negotiators to free several Afghan Taliban prisoners, the clearest sign that Pakistan will support Afghan reconciliation efforts. Officials, hopeful that direct contact with top Taliban commanders will give them leverage in any peace talks, have long urged Pakistan to grant them access to prisoners. Reuters