Troops kill 23 rebels
Afghan soldiers backed by troops from the NATO-led international force stormed a militant stronghold in the southern province of Uruzgan on Tuesday, killing 23 insurgents, army General Sher Mohammad Zazai said yesterday. The dead in the attack included a local Taliban commander, Zazai said. “We had an operation in Chinarto area last night during which we located a Taliban hideout. We killed 23 enemy fighters,” Zazai said. He said that fighter jets from the NATO force took part in the battle in Chinarto, which is close to the provincial capital of Tirin Kot.
Storm leaves five dead
At least five people have been killed and seven are missing as Tropical Storm Nangka sweeps over the central Philippines, officials said yesterday. Packing winds of up to 83kph — with gusts of up to 102kph — the storm brought floods, landslides and power cuts across small islands in the center of the archipelago. Four fishermen drowned off Alabat island southeast of Manila late on Tuesday as they tried to steer their boat to shelter from the approaching cyclone, said Perez municipal police chief Inspector Susan Planas. Eleven other crew members were rescued but one of them was injured, she said in a telephone interview. One fisherman drowned off the island of Cebu and six others were missing off Cebu and Samar islands. A child was also missing in a flooded section of Romblon island, the civil defense office said.
Soap opera to help farmers
The creators of a new TV soap opera said yesterday they hoped it would teach farmers in one of the world’s poorest nations new tricks to boost their income. The Dhaka branch of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) has produced the eight-episode drama, which will air weekly until August on a private satellite channel. “It aims to help farmers to learn about new technology and to improve their incomes,” said Zainul Abedin, of IRRI Bangladesh. “It shows how small scale changes can help.” Aside from new technology, the episodes touch on food security and how to share ideas with other farmers. Abedin said farmers could text in questions after each show and issues raised may be used in future episodes.
Bali wary of Aussies
The government expressed concern yesterday that Australian tourists could bring swine flu to the resort island of Bali, after it confirmed its first two cases of the virus. Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari said she was “very worried” that Australians who flock to Bali’s famous surf beaches would spread the virus in a country that had so far avoided the worst of the pandemic. “Honestly I’m very worried about people who come from Australia,” she told reporters at a press conference held to announce the first two confirmed cases in Indonesia, including a British woman who lived in Australia.
Rare elephants killed
At least 15 endangered Sumatran elephants have been shot or poisoned to death with cyanide-laced fruit this year, marking a sharp rise in the rate of killing from last year, a government conservationist said yesterday. The giant mammals were mostly killed by poachers for their ivory, said Tony Suhartono, director of biodiversity conservation at the forest ministry. The number killed in the past six months is equal to the total for the whole of last year, he said.