Japanese parties in deal to fix 'fiscal cliff'
TOKYO - Japanese lawmakers have moved closer to fixing the nation's own "fiscal cliff", agreeing to pass a bond bill crucial to financing a huge chunk of this year's public spending. Japan's Jiji Press news agency reported that the opposition and lawmakers in the ruling Democratic Party of Japan had reached a deal to pass the bill in the lower house of parliament. But it remained unclear whether the bill would pass in the opposition-controlled upper house. AFP
Terrorist disguised in burqa escapes jail
JAKARTA - An Indonesian man convicted of terror offences escaped from a high-security jail by wearing a smuggled burqa to disguise himself as a woman. Roki Aprisdianto, 29, who was serving six years for involvement with an Islamic militant group, walked out of the prison with a group of burqa-clad women visitors. AFP
Hanoi drops objections to Mekong River dam
HANOI - Vietnam has apparently dropped its objections to a dam that Laos is constructing on the Mekong River, saying its neighbour has made changes in the design to mitigate any negative downstream impacts. Vietnam last year proposed a 10-year moratorium on any dams on the Mekong, expressing concern that the Xaburi dam would kill fish and affect livelihoods along its stretch. AP
Radio broadcaster shot dead in Philippines
MANILA - A radio broadcaster was shot dead in the Philippines, the seventh journalist to be murdered this year. A gunman riding a motorcycle killed Julius Cauzo, 51, in the northern city of Cabanatuan, where he worked as a talk show host and reporter for the DWJJ station. AFP