Briefs, January 22, 2013

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 January, 2013, 6:25am

Leader of Thai party in ruling coalition dies

BANGKOK - Thai deputy prime minister and minister of tourism and sports Chumpol Silpa-archa died of a suspected heart problem aged 72, his party said. Chumpol - leader of the Chart Thai Pattana Party, a member of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's ruling coalition - was admitted to hospital with breathing problems on December 17. He was one of several deputy prime ministers serving under Yingluck. AFP


US ship 'ignored alert' over reef in Philippines

MANILA - A US Navy minesweeper that has been stuck on a World Heritage-listed coral reef since last week ignored warnings to avoid the area, a Philippine government official said. The comments from Angelique Songco, superintendent of the Tubbataha marine park, added to growing anger in the Philippines over the incident, for which the US Navy has apologised but may still face fines. Park rangers had radioed the USS Guardian to advise it was nearing the Tubbataha Reef on Thursday, but the ship's captain insisted that they instead raise their complaint with the US embassy. AFP


American sailor held in Japan after break-in

TOKYO - Japanese police arrested a 20-year-old US sailor for allegedly breaking into an elderly woman's property while drunk, reports said, despite a nighttime curfew. It is the latest in a series of arrests of American servicemen in Japan, where another drunken sailor, 24, was arrested over trespassing only a week ago. Manuel Silva admitted breaking into the grounds of a 72-year-old woman's house in the port city of Yokosuka, south of Tokyo. AFP


Death toll in Jakarta floods rises to 26

JAKARTA - Police say floods in Indonesia's capital have killed at least 26 people and sent more than 100,000 fleeing their homes. Police said most of the victims were electrocuted or drowned in floodwaters reaching up to two metres high in some places. About 103,000 people are living in temporary shelters. The floods reached their peak on Thursday after a dike in central Jakarta collapsed. They engulfed around 30 per cent of the city of 14 million. AP


Indonesian judge faces sack for rape comment

JAKARTA - An Indonesian High Court judge will face an ethics tribunal for saying rape victims enjoyed the act, an official said. A judicial commission that recommended Daming Sunusi's dismissal said his remarks during a hearing for a Supreme Court post were "disgraceful", spokesman Asep Rahmat Fajar said. Sunusi was answering a question on whether the death penalty should be introduced for convicted rapists. AFP