International briefs

Indo-Russia MiG deal

NEW DELHI: India and Russia are set to agree a 1.2-billion-dollar deal for 29 MiG-29 fighter jets which will cement Moscow’s role as New Delhi’s principal arms supplier, an official said on Monday. A senior Indian defence ministry official said the deal was likely to be finalised this week during a visit to New Delhi by a Russian military team. “The contract has already been negotiated and just some finishing touches are now awaited,” the official, who did not want to be named, said.

Five dead in blast

KIEV: At least five people were killed on Monday when oxygen canisters exploded in the intensive care unit of a Ukrainian hospital and caused several floors to collapse, officials said. Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, in the midst of a bitter election campaign, set off for the scene of the blast in the eastern Ukrainian city of Lugansk close to the border with Russia, her office said. “As a result of a violation of security rules in the intensive care unit of hospital number seven of Lugansk, oxygen canisters exploded,” it said in a statement. “Several floors of the hospital collapsed,” it said.

‘Tiniest tiger’ carving

TAIPEI: A Taiwanese artist said on Monday that he had completed the world’s smallest tiger sculpture, tiny enough to pass through the eye of a needle. Chen Forng-shean carved the animal, made of artificial resin and measuring just 0.04 inches in height, to mark the Year of the Tiger, which begins on February 14. “The toughest part was painting the tiger’s tongue red,” the amateur artist, who works for the central bank, told AFP. Chen, who has devoted himself to miniature sculpture for the past 30 years, said it took him four hours a day for three months to finish the work.

Billionaire wins polls

SANTIAGO: A billionaire media magnate, Sebastian Pinera, is to become the next president of Chile after a runoff election on Sunday that put an end to a 20-year hold on power by the left-wing coalition of outgoing head-of-state Michelle Bachelet. Bachelet’s defeated candidate, Eduardo Frei, a former president himself, conceded defeat after an official count of most ballots showed Pinera had picked up 52 percent to his 48 percent. The victory by Pinera, 60, marked the defeat of the Concertacion coalition of four left-wing and centrist parties that had governed Chile since the 1990 exit of dictator August Pinochet.