Moon mission mulled
The government on Thursday held out the possibility of sending astronauts to the moon by 2020 and called for a national debate on whether it should enter a space race with richer nations. The Indian Space Research Organization says it could have a manned spaceship ready in eight years to orbit the Earth and put astronauts on the lunar surface in 14 years. To date India has shied away from putting humans into space as the costs have been considered prohibitive.
Six police killed in ambush
Suspected militants ambushed a police patrol killing six policemen and wounding three others, an official said. The police car was sprayed with bullets in the Adraskan district of Herat Province late on Thursday, said Nasar Ahmad Paykar, the provincial deputy police chief. Adraskan's district police chief was among those killed, he said. Paykar blamed Taliban militants for the ambush. Three wounded policemen were brought to Herat hospital for treatment.
Students felled by poisoning
Twenty-one young students fell ill and were hospitalized after eating in a school's cafeteria, state media reported yesterday, in the latest in a series of such food poisoning cases. The students at the private school in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region complained of headaches, abdominal pain and vomiting after lunch on Wednesday, Xinhua news agency quoted a local health official as saying. Nineteen of the students, ages 6 to 14, were discharged from hospital the same day after treatment, while the others were still hospitalized but not in critical condition, the official was quoted as saying.
■ United Kingdom
Man jailed for killing child
A man who killed his daughter with chloroform to punish his wife for being unfaithful was jailed for 15 years on Thursday. Gavin Hall, 33, a hospital radiographer, murdered Amelia, 3, as her mother and sister slept in their Northamptonshire home. The jury at Northampton Crown Court heard that he gave his daughter sleeping pills before he smothered her with a rag soaked with chloroform, media reports said. Hall, who admitted manslaughter but denied murder, tried to commit suicide after the killing. Hall suffered an emotional breakdown after discovering his wife was having an affair with a judge she met on the Internet, media reports said.
Halloween prank backfires
A police bomb squad raced across the country by helicopter on Thursday to investigate a mysterious, wired package that turned out to be a discarded Halloween prop left behind by a young man who had dressed up as a suicide bomber. The package, with wires sticking out of it, was found on a car said Asbjoern Andersen of Bergen police. The car's owner had no idea what the package was, so police evacuated the surrounding area. Then they summoned bomb experts from Oslo, who flew 300km by helicopter to assess the threat. "We really had no choice," Andersen said about bringing in experts from the capital.
■ United Kingdom
Migration trend continues
An estimated 380,000 people migrated from Britain last year, with Australia the most popular destination followed by Spain and France, according to data published on Thursday by the Office for National Statistics. The level of migration has grown steadily from 264,000 in 1996. Nearly 200,000 of those who left last year intending to live abroad for more than 12 months were British citizens, with the rest foreign nationals returning home. The data also shows that the number of people coming into the country for longer than 12 months last year stood at 565,000, slightly down on the previous year.