Malaysian PM, opposition in deal to boost stability
Malaysia's new government signed an agreement to cooperate with the opposition yesterday in exchange for a promise of reforms, a bid to bring stability after intense political turbulence. Less than a month after taking office following the collapse of his predecessor's short-lived government, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob has extended an olive branch to his rivals. The new administration's arrival has lowered the political temperature -- at least in the short term -- and fuelled hopes that officials will be able to focus on fighting a serious coronavirus outbreak. Ismail Sabri and representatives of the opposition, led by Anwar Ibrahim, signed the agreement in parliament, as the legislature convened yesterday for the first time since the new premier took power.
Dozens of abducted students freed in NW Nigeria
Nigerian gunmen have freed dozens of schoolchildren kidnapped earlier this month in northwest Zamfara State, according to a local government source and a video showing state officials with the children. The release of the Kaya school students on Sunday came after the army began a crackdown on criminal gangs in the state and local authorities shut down telecoms in Zamfara to disrupt communications between armed groups. More than 70 students and some teachers were snatched in Kaya on September 1 in the latest in a series of mass abductions at schools and colleges this year by heavily armed gunmen known locally as bandits. "A total of 75 hostages taken from the Government Junior Secondary School Kaya were released on Sunday evening," the local government source said. "They looked robust and unharmed." A video released by Zamfara State Governor Bello Matawalle's office showed him greeting buses full of students in the night and asking them if they had been harmed.
North Korea tests new long-range missile
North Korea test-fired a new "long-range cruise missile" over the weekend, state media reported yesterday, with the United States saying the nuclear-armed country was threatening its neighbours and beyond. Pictures in the Rodong Sinmun newspaper showed a missile exiting one of five tubes on a launch vehicle in a ball of flame, and a missile in horizontal flight. Such a weapon would represent a marked advance in North Korea's weapons technology, analysts said, better able to avoid defence systems to deliver a warhead across the South or Japan -- both of them US allies. The test launches took place on Saturday and Sunday, the official Korean Central News Agency said.