Coalition kills militants
US-led coalition and Afghan troops killed up to 19 suspected Taliban militants in two separate clashes in the south and a roadside blast killed four Afghan soldiers in the east, officials said yesterday. In the Taliban-held Musa Qala district of Helmand Province, militants ambushed the joint US-Afghan force on Monday, a coalition statement said. The joint force fought back, targeting militants who were using several compounds and trenches for cover, the statement said. It said about a dozen militants were killed in the clash.
Merkel raises rights issues
German Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday emphasized the need to respect human rights and discussed media freedom with journalists critical of Beijing during the second day of her visit. "The issue of human rights is of vital importance from our point of view," Merkel told an audience at the Chinese Academy of Social Science, the nation's top government think tank. Merkel earlier met with a group of journalists who have criticized the Beijing government, including Li Datong (李大同), the former editor of a hard-hitting weekly supplement in the mass-circulation China Youth Daily.
Man extradited in ambulance
A man who swallowed a knife four years ago to avoid deportation from Germany on fraud charges reached New Delhi on Monday where police said the blade in his belly would not prevent prosecution. Amarendra Nath Ghosh fled six years ago after being charged with defrauding several banks. He was caught in 2003 by German authorities but swallowed a knife when he learned a deportation order to India had been approved. German police then said they could not extradite him because he was a sick man. Germany finally agreed to Ghosh's extradition on the condition that he was flown back in an "air ambulance."
Boy's trapped testicles freed
Doctors performed a 30-minute operation to free the testicles of a nine-year old stuck in a metal pipe after the boy slipped while bathing, a newspaper said yesterday. The boy climbed up a partition in the bathroom, but fell on an uncovered metal pipe, trapping his testicles in the narrow tube, the New Straits Times said. Medical staff answering the emergency call at the boy's home on Penang were unable to remove the L-shaped pipe and had to call in firemen. They used a hydraulic cutter to open both ends of the pipe before the child could be taken to hospital.
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Defective condoms recalled
The government issued a recall notice on Monday for 20 million condoms after a scandal in which safety certificates were allegedly issued for defective contraceptives. The health ministry said that all 20 million of the condoms so far supplied by Zalatex as part of a government-funded distribution program were being recalled "as a precautionary measure to ensure maximum safety of the public." "The department of health has already quarantined close to 3.6 million condoms," a statement said.
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Diamond is world's biggest
The world's biggest diamond was found Monday in a mine in North-West Province, according to a radio report late on Monday. SAfm public radio said the stone found was twice the weight of the previous record-holder, the Cullinan Diamond, which weighed about 3,106 carats when found in present-day Gauteng Province in January 1905. The Cullinan was cut into several smaller stones, which now adorn the British crown jewels. The stone was to be transported to Johannesburg under tight security, SAfm said.