44 militants killed
A bomb hit a convoy carrying Kabul's intelligence chief Humayoon Aini, missing him but killing three others, while the US-led coalition yesterday announced the deaths of 44 militants in clashes over the past week. Six other insurgents and three police were also killed in the country's volatile south, according to the police -- bringing the number of newly reported deaths across Afghanistan to 56. Taliban militants have stepped up attacks and in the past three weeks alone, more than 500 people have died in violence.
Suu Kyi takes ill: police
The detained head of the pro-democracy movement, Aung San Suu Kyi, was stricken with a stomach illness, but it was not serious and she was not hospitalized, the nation's police chief said yesterday. Speaking to reporters during a press tour in Kayin State, police chief Major General Khin Yi confirmed opposition accounts that Suu Kyi had suffered from stomach problems in the past few days. Earlier yesterday, a spokesman for her National League for Democracy party said Suu Kyi had returned home after receiving treatment at a hospital for a stomach ailment.
■ Sri Lanka
Family hacked to death
An entire family of four was found hacked to death in northwestern Sri Lanka on Friday, a crime the government and Tamil Tiger rebels blamed on each other in the latest violence threatening a truce. A man, his wife and their two young children were killed around midnight on Thursday in Mannar District, 220km north of Colombo, the Media Center for National Security said. The center said Tamil Tiger are suspected because the family had been helping government forces. But the rebels' media spokesman, Daya Master said the military was responsible.
Floods kill 93
Flooding from two weeks of heavy rain in southern China has killed 93 people, a further 11 are missing and more than half a million people have been evacuated to higher ground, the official China Daily said yesterday. "Nearly 12 million people in nine provinces, regions and municipalities have been affected by the weather," the newspaper quoted the Ministry of Civil Affairs as saying. At least 560,000 people have been evacuated and direct losses from the heavy rains have reached 7.66 billion yuan (US$956 million), the ministry said. Mudslides remained a danger, the daily said. Fujian Province, the hardest-hit area, was given 40 million yuan by the central government for relief work, it said.
Coal liquefaction promoted
Japan plans to provide Asian nations, particularly China, with the technology to liquefy coal as part of an effort to reduce global dependence on crude oil, a report said yesterday. In coal liquefaction, petroleum fuels such as gasoline and kerosene are produced from powdered coal by applying heat and pressure. The industry ministry intends to tap proprietary technologies of the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), an independent agency under its control, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun said. As a first step, NEDO will join with Chinese energy firms Datang International Power Generation Co and Xinwen Mining Group to conduct tests to determine how efficiently they can liquefy coal, the paper said.
The wurst way to go?
German police have arrested a man on suspicion of murdering a woman with a sausage. Prosecutors and police said the 50-year-old was arrested after the woman's body was discovered in an apartment in Zwickau, eastern Germany. They said she had choked on a Bockwurst, a popular large German sausage. The prosecutors said the man had given a patchy account of events, acknowledging that he may have "administered" a Bockwurst to the woman. They are now working to establish exactly what happened in the run-up to her death.