Militants killed

KHAR: Pakistani helicopter gunships and fighter jets on Tuesday pounded militant hideouts in a tribal region near the Afghan border, killing 11 rebels, a security official said. The attacks took place in the Bajaur region, where Pakistani troops and militants linked to Al Qaeda and the Taliban have been engaged in fierce fighting since August. “Jets and gunships bombarded miscreants today in several areas. Eleven militants were killed and 10 others wounded,” a senior Pakistani security official told AFP. There was no independent confirmation of the toll.


Fighter jet crashes

TAIPEI: Taiwan’s air force on Tuesday confirmed one of its fighter jets which went missing this week crashed, killing at least one person on board. “Some wreckage and parts of a human body have been found” off Penghu island in the Taiwan Strait, an air force spokesman told reporters. But the spokesman said the search for the second person on board the twin-seater plane would continue. The locally-made plane disappeared from radar screens on Monday 30 minutes after taking off from the central Chingchuankang air base for a training mission in the Taiwan Strait, the air force said. — AFP

Sentence commuted

KABUL: An Afghan appeal court on Tuesday overturned the death sentence of a young reporter accused of insulting Islam, but upheld his conviction and sentenced him to 20 years in jail. Perwiz Kambakhsh, in his early 20s, was arrested a year ago in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif in a case that attracted worldwide condemnation and calls for President Hamid Karzai to intervene. After hearing evidence from several witnesses, the court upheld his conviction for “insulting Islam and the respected Prophet Mohammad,” but ruled on the lesser sentence. — AFP

Wen to visit Russia

BEIJING: Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao will visit Russia and Kazakhstan next week and attend the annual leaders’ meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the government said on Tuesday. The meeting of the SCO — a regional grouping consisting of Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan — will be held in Kazakhstan, the foreign ministry said on its website. Wen will hold talks with his counterparts in Russia and Kazakhstan, it said. — AFP