Briefs, December 13, 2012

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 13 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 13 December, 2012, 4:20am

Woman tied to multiple murders found dead

TOKYO - A Japanese woman at the centre of a multiple murder case who reportedly coerced people into starving family members to death has been found dead in her cell. Miyoko Sumida, 64, was the chief suspect in an investigation that has transfixed low-crime Japan since three decaying corpses were discovered in an empty house where she once lived. Sumida's body was found in bed in the cell with a long-sleeve shirt wrapped tightly around her neck. AFP


Massacre suspect pleads not guilty

MANILA - A Philippine politician accused of helping to plan the country's worst political massacre pleaded not guilty to organising the murder of at least 57 victims. Zaldy Ampatuan, allegedly a key plotter of the 2009 attack in the country's south, entered a plea after the court struck down months of manoeuvres challenging the legality of his arrest, said court officer May Datuon. AFP


3 Filipino fishermen found drifting at sea

MANILA - Low-flying search planes spotted three Filipino fishermen drifting at sea and flashing mirrors to signal for help, as authorities stepped up the search for 261 others still missing more than a week after a powerful typhoon killed hundreds in the southern Philippines. A total of 35 fishermen have been rescued in the past three days, including three found in a small boat drifting about 255 kilometres east of Davao Oriental province, where the typhoon made landfall on December 4. AP


Chinese bus drivers delay plea in Singapore

SINGAPORE - Four Chinese bus drivers facing possible jail for instigating Singapore's first industrial strike in 26 years were given more time to explore their legal options. Liu Xiangying, 33, Gao Yueqiang, 32, Wang Xianjie, 39, and He Junling, 32, did not enter a plea when they appeared before a district court. Their lawyer said they had yet to decide whether to plead guilty or not guilty. AFP


60pc of lawmakers in Pakistan 'tax dodgers'

ISLAMABAD - More than 60 per cent of Pakistan's cabinet and two-thirds of its federal lawmakers paid no tax last year, according to a report on tax evasion among the country's political leaders. AFP