Maid in Strauss-Kahn case sues over 'prostitution'

The Guinean hotel maid who has accused former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn of attempted rape is suing the New York Post for claiming that she was a prostitute.

“Yes, we have filed suit against the New York Post for stating that the victim is a prostitute,” her lawyer Kenneth Thompson told AFP in an email.

The Post, citing a source close to the defense’s investigation team, has alleged the maid often traded sex for money with male guests at the Sofitel hotel in Manhattan.

560 apartment units under PR1MA programme to be sold for 120,000 a unit

The 560 apartment units at precinct 11 here to be built under the 1Malaysia Housing Programme (PR1MA) will be sold for RM120,000 a unit, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced today.

He said the price was cheaper than the earlier price set between RM150,000 and RM300,000.

The project, to be developed by Putrajaya Holdings Sdn Bhd, is the first site identified under the first phase of the PRIMA Programme, he said.

Najib launches 1Malaysia housing programme phase one

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak today launched phase one of the 1Malaysia Housing Programme (PR1MA) which involves the construction of 42,000 houses on 20 strategic sites.

He said eight projects were expected to commence this year and in 2012 on the 20 sites which had been identified in the Klang Valley, Rawang and Seremban.

He said PR1MA was specifically for moderate-income Malaysians earning not more than RM6,000 monthly regardless whether they work with the government, the private sector or self-employed.

US Captain of Gaza-bound ship held in "shocking conditions"

The captain of a US vessel intercepted after it tried to defy a ban and sail for Gaza from Greece was being held in “shocking conditions” Sunday and had not received consular assistance, a lawyer said.

Captain John Klusmer was arrested when the US boat Audacity of Hope — the flagship in a flotilla of pro-Palestinian activists — attempted to leave Greek waters on Friday after Athens banned all Gaza-bound ships from setting sail.

Klusmer was charged with felony and ordered to appear in court on Tuesday. The US Boat to Gaza organisation said he was being held in jail in “shocking conditions” and as far as it was aware, had not yet received consular assistance.

Britain to pull hundreds of troops from Afghanistan: reports

British Prime Minister David Cameron is to announce the withdrawal of at least 500 troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2012 following a similar drawdown by the United States, reports said Sunday.

The move would take the number of British troops in Afghanistan below the key figure of 9,000 and mark a major step towards Cameron’s stated aim of having all British combat forces out of the country by 2015.

Cameron would announce on Wednesday plans to withdraw up to 800 troops by the end of next year, the Sunday Times reported. The Sunday Telegraph put the figure at 500 and said they would leave in mid-2012.

Beijing-Shanghai high-speed train makes debut

High-speed trains linking China’s two main cities Beijing and Shanghai make their commercial debut Thursday — a step seen as vital to ease pressures on the country’s overloaded transport system.

The $33 billion rail line, which has been operating on a trial basis since mid-May, will halve the journey time to under five hours and could hurt airlines operating on the busy route plagued by delays and cancellations.

Thai Democrats struggle in 'Red Shirt' heartland

In the northern hinterlands that may hold the key to victory in a hard fought Thai election, the ruling party seems as unpopular as ever, despite decades of wooing rural voters.

The establishment-backed Democrats came to power in a parliamentary vote two years ago but it is almost 20 years since they won a popular mandate, and observers say a flatlining campaign is unlikely to reverse their fortunes.

The rural north and northeast are home to more than half of the Thai electorate, and are the heartland of the “Red Shirt” anti-government protest movement.

Indonesia’s President picks in-law as army chief

Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono picked his brother-in-law as the new army chief, his spokesman said on Wednesday, as speculation grows over who Yudhoyono might pick to as a presidential candidate in 2014 elections.

Under Yudhoyono, Indonesia has started to improve infrastructure and trim layers of bureaucracy, problems cited by investors as deterrents to investment. 

UNHCR undecided on Australia-Malaysia refugee swap

Australia’s proposed refugee swap with Malaysia looked on shaky ground Thursday with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees suggesting he may not sign off on it.

Antonio Guterres said he did not yet know if the UNHCR would approve the controversial proposal, adding that Australians had bombarded him with emails opposing the deal.

“The only reason why it has not yet been signed is because UNHCR has been intransigent in relation to a certain number of very clear protection principles,” he said in the Sydney Morning Herald.

China says navy drills not linked to sea disputes

China has said a series of recent naval drills are “routine” and unrelated to simmering tensions in the South China Sea involving a range of nations with competing territorial claims.

When asked about the six military exercises staged by the Chinese navy in June, including a joint drill with Vietnam in the Gulf of Tonkin, defence ministry spokesman Yang Yujun urged the media not to speculate about their purpose.


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