Suspected militants killed
Police on Saturday killed three suspected Muslim militants in the Indian capital, a news report said. The three belonged to the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba militant outfit -- one of several groups that have been fighting since 1989 to end Indian rule in Kashmir, claimed by both India and Pakistan. The report said the men were killed in the Uttam Nagar district in southwest New Delhi.
Ferry boat capsizes
Rescue workers searched for victims yesterday after a ferry carrying dozens of people sank in foul weather off southern Thailand, leaving at least eight dead and 12 missing. Seven passengers died when the boat capsized Saturday en route from the resort island of Phuket to Yao island. A girl, hospitalized with injuries from the accident, died overnight at a Phuket hospital. Rescuers were working to raise the sunken boat, which was overloaded with at least 63 passengers. Its capacity was 30.
■ Sri Lanka
Murders spark blamefest
Tamil Tiger rebels blamed a breakaway faction yesterday for the murder of six villagers in eastern Sri Lanka, but the military said the main guerrilla group was responsible for the killings. TamilNet, a Web site backing the main Tamil Tiger group, said the renegade faction on Saturday killed six of the supporters of the main group who had provided intelligence information about the breakaway group. But military spokesman Daya Ratnayake said the six were murdered by 10 Tamil Tiger fighters armed with rifles who stormed Sevanapitiya village bordering the restive Batticaloa district. The Tigers accuse the military of using the renegades to attack the mainstream rebels.
Lip synch ban considered
Chinese government advisers meeting in Beijing this week have some weighty matters to discuss: blocking Taiwan's formal independence, alleviating dire poverty in the countryside, and lip synching. Ma Bomin, an official with Shanghai's municipal radio, film and television administration, likens the practice of performers pretending to sing to selling fake goods. She wants to pass a law making it a crime for a performer to do so without first notifying audience members. "Fake singing is no different from trading in fakes. It should be resolutely boycotted and shunned," Ma said. Ma didn't say what punishments would be proposed under the measure, included in a draft of China's first comprehensive law on arts and culture.
Indonesians earliest risers
Indonesians take the top spot for early risers in the Asia-Pacific, while the Taiwanese are the last out of bed, a study on sleep habits as conducted by ACNielsen of people ranging in age from 16 to over 60. The earliest to bed and longest sleepers are the Australians and New Zealanders. Twenty-four percent of Australians are in bed by 10pm, followed by 19 percent of New Zealanders. Thirty-one percent of Aussies and 28 percent of Kiwis clock over nine hours of sleep daily. The Japanese are the opposite, with four out of 10 getting six hours of sleep or less. Singapore turned out to be a nation of owls. The study found one in two stay up past midnight, with half of them hitting the sack between midnight and 1am. The other half turned in after 1am.
Headbanger gets religion
Ex-metal guitarist Brian "Head" Welch was baptized Saturday in the Jordan river, just weeks after quitting his band, drug habits and rock-and-roll lifestyle for religion. Welch, a founding member of the multi-platinum metal band Korn, joined some 20 other white-robed Christian pilgrims from a Bakersfield, California, church who were immersed by their pastor, Ron Vietti, in the cool, gray waters near the shore. Despite saying he was there to be "dunked in the water," Welch said the ritual baptism had washed away his anger. "You know when you get angry and it builds up? I felt like hurting someone before, now I feel like hugging people," he said.