International Briefs

India tests missiles

NEW DELHI: India successfully tested two home-developed short-range missiles capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear warheads on Saturday, an official said. The Dhanush or Arrow missile, which can hit a target up to a distance of 395 km, has already been tested thrice before - in 2002, 2007 and 2009, the official said on condition of anonymity. India also tested the Prithvi II, a short-range, surface-to-surface ballistic missile. The missile, which can hit targets up to a distance of 295 kilometers has already been inducted into the Indian army and Saturday’s test was a user trial, the official added. The Dhanush missile was test fired from a naval warship in the Bay of Bengal, while the Prithvi II was fired from a testing range. Both tests were conducted in the eastern state of Orissa.

Discovery launch

FLORIDA: NASA has settled on April 5 as a launch date for space shuttle Discovery. Senior managers met on Friday and agreed unanimously on the launch date. They determined that leaky helium valves aboard Discovery would pose no safety concerns. Discovery will haul up spare parts and extra supplies for the International Space Station. The mission is one of four remaining shuttle flights. During the two-week mission, President Barack Obama will travel to Florida to discuss his post-shuttle plans for NASA. Obama supports deep-space exploration, but has yet to lay out a destination for astronauts or a timetable.

9 ‘militants’ killed

PARACHINAR: Pakistani airstrikes killed nine suspected insurgents on Saturday in a tribal region near the Afghan border, an official said, bringing the total killed in a military offensive there to more than 100 this week. The fighting occurred in Orakzai, a tribal region where many Pakistani Taliban militants are believed to have fled to avoid an earlier army offensive in their main stronghold farther south. A helicopter strikes on Friday targeted several militant hide-outs in Orakzai, an official said.