Briefs, December 21, 2012

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 21 December, 2012, 3:28am

Philippines and rebels extend ceasefire

MANILA - The Philippine government and communist rebels have extended a truce to help restart peace talks. The New People's Army has been ordered to stop attacks on military and police forces. The ceasefire agreement was reached after a meeting of negotiators in Holland, where rebel leaders live in exile. The rebels had earlier declared a month-long ceasefire in a southern province ravaged by a typhoon that killed more than 1,000 people. It has been extended to January 15. AP


Teacher jailed for molesting boys

PHNOM PENH - A Cambodian court has jailed a British man, 71, for one year for molesting boys, a sentence criticised by child rights campaigners as too lenient. Reginald Blakeley, who taught English before his arrest in Siem Reap, was convicted of assaulting five boys. AFP


Branson to be AirAsia stewardess

KUALA LUMPUR - British billionaire Richard Branson will finally wear a red skirt and serve as a stewardess on AirAsia, in May, after losing a Grand Prix bet with the founder of the airline. Virgin boss Branson and AirAsia chief executive Tony Fernandes had agreed in 2010 that whichever of their teams finished lower in the constructors' championship in their debut season, the losing owner would serve on the other's airline. AFP


Cocaine charge Briton faces 15 years in jail

BALI - Indonesian prosecutors are seeking a 15-year prison sentence for a British woman accused of smuggling 3.8kg of cocaine worth US$2.5 million into the resort island of Bali. Lindsay June Sandiford, 56, was arrested in May when customs officers discovered the cocaine in her luggage. AP


Asean links a high priority, Singh says

NEW DELHI - Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh says his nation attaches the ''highest priority" to relations with the countries of Southeast Asia. He spoke at a summit in New Delhi between India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. The meeting was part of India's ''Look East" policy that is seen as a counter to China's influence in the region. The summit is expected to conclude talks on a free trade agreement in services and investments. AP