Police kill rebel in shootout
Police in New Delhi said yesterday they had gunned down a member of the Islamic militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, blamed for a bloody attack in 2001 on India's parliament. A police spokesman said the rebel was killed in a shootout in the densely-populated Nazafgarh area. Police identified the guerrilla as Arif Mohammed, also known as Abdul Aziz. An AK-47 assault rifle, six hand grenades and ammunition were found at the site of the shootout, they said. The Press Trust of India news agency claimed the dead militant was a Pakistani national and quoted a senior policeman saying he had been instructed to set up a base in New Delhi to help others carry out subversive activities.
■ Sri Lanka
Flood death toll rises
The official death toll in Sri Lanka's devastating weekend floods rose to 266 yesterday after searchers found six more bodies, while engineers worked to widen rivers so that floodwaters could drain faster, a government minister said. Search teams continued looking in remote villages for up to 500 people missing following the floods and landslides in southern Sri Lanka that started late Saturday after days of heavy rain. The floods, the worst here in three decades, have left an estimated 350,000 people homeless.
■ Sri Lanka
Tamil Tigers talk tough
Hopes of ending a monthlong deadlock in peace talks were dashed Wednesday, when Tamil Tiger rebels rejected a set of government proposals and demanded more administrative and economic powers. The rebels said the government must set up an interim administration to handle the reconstruction and development of Sri Lanka's Tamil-majority northeast before they would resume peace talks. The government has not immediately responded to the rebels' demand. During a previous round of peace talks, the rebels dropped their call for an interim administration in the northeast. With the rebels again pressing this demand, prospects of resuming peace talks was shakier.
Prosecutors call for death
Japanese prosecutors yesterday demanded the death sentence for a 39-year-old man who killed eight children after running amok with a butcher's knife in an elementary school in western Japan two years ago. Mamoru Takuma, who is charged with murder and attempted murder, should be sentenced to hang, the prosecution told the Osaka District Court. Takuma, a psychiatric patient formerly diagnosed with schizophrenia, showed no emotion when the demand for the death penalty came in the final minutes of the day's 90-minute session, according to Jiji Press news agency.
■ The Philippines
So, what's your poison?
Six men died of poisoning in the Philippines after downing two bottles of gin given by a woman who allegedly had a personal grudge against one of the victims. The victims were drinking along a road in the Manila suburban city of Malabon on Sunday, when the unidentified suspect gave them the two bottles of gin. The following day, the men were rushed to different hospitals after suffering from severe stomach ache, vomiting and dizziness. The six men died one after another. Police said they were looking into reports that the suspect's target was one of the fatalities, who recently mediated in a heated argument between the woman and a neighbor over a pail of water.
Ethnic clashes grip town
More than 310 bodies have been found since ethnic clashes broke out in the town of Bunia in the Democratic Republic of Congo. A spokeswoman for MONUC, the UN mission in the vast war-torn African country, said the bodies had been found since May 4 and included a large number of people who had been buried in mass graves. The spokeswoman said that seven more bodies had been found inside Bunia on Wednesday, and a mass grave that was estimated to contain at least 30 had also been found on the outskirts of the town.