BEIJING: Ethnic Uighurs attacked police with knives and bombs at a traffic checkpoint in China’s Xinjiang region, Radio Free Asia reported on Wednesday, and at least 18 people were killed. The attack occurred at the beginning of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan on Monday in the southern city of Kashgar, where tensions between Muslim Uighurs that call the region home and the majority Han Chinese have led to bloodshed in recent years. Suspects killed several police officers with knives and bombs after speeding through a traffic checkpoint in a car in Kashgar’s Tahtakoruk district, US-based Radio Free Asia said, citing Turghun Memet, an officer at a nearby police station. Armed police responded to the attack and killed 15 suspects “designated as terrorists”, Radio Free Asia cited Memet as saying. It said in all between 18 and 28 people were killed, including several bystanders, but that police estimates of the toll varied.

Protest against plant

SHANGHAI: About 1,000 residents of a Shanghai suburb are protesting a report that a petrochemical plant may be moved to their neighbourhood, although authorities have dismissed the report as untrue. The protest Wednesday evening reflects growing public concern about the environmental impact of projects such as petrochemical plants, as well as the public’s deep distrust of local governments. Demonstrators gathered outside the local government compound in Jinshan district, holding up banners and chanting slogans against the possible relocation of a paraxylene plant to Jinshan. Paraxylene is a chemical used to produce fibres and plastics. The district government issued a statement saying the plant, now in Pudong district, would not be relocated but closed down.

Panda twins displayed

BEIJING:China has put on display the latest twin pandas born through artificial insemination as part of efforts to boost the numbers of its unofficial national mascot. Still mostly hairless and with their eyes yet to open, the sisters were met by adoring fans at a breeding centre in the southwestern city of Chengdu on Tuesday. Their mother, seven-year old Kelin, gave birth to the twins early Monday. Wu Kongju, chief administrator at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, said the twins were in good condition based on their milk consumption and normal body temperature. The cubs were born more than four months after the mother was artificially inseminated in January. Figures released this year show 1,864 pandas live in the wild.