Japan to resume Pak loans

ISLAMABAD: Japanese PM Junichiro Koizumi promised Pakistan’s leader on Saturday that Tokyo will resume loans to the country suspended when it conducted nuclear tests in 1998, a Japanese spokesman said. Koizumi told President General Pervez Musharraf “Japan plans to restore yen loans,” spokesman Akira Chiba said. — AP

Afghan airstrike kills eight

KABUL: An airstrike on a suspected insurgent camp in central Afghanistan killed three civilians and four militants, US military said on Saturday. Afghan civilians — one woman, one man and one child — died when warplanes attacked the camp in Uruzgan on Friday, a military statement said. — AP

Five killed in Kashmir

SRINAGAR: Violence in Jammu and Kashmir claimed the lives of five people, including two students and a member of the special operations group (SOG) of police. Police said unidentified separatist guerrillas shot two students of a college in old town Baramulla in north Kashmir on Friday. In another incident, two separatist guerrillas and a SOG policeman were killed in a gun battle at Saller near the south Kashmir health resort of Pahalgam late on Friday. — HNS

Warning against tsunami

BANGKOK: Thailand will have a tsunami early warning system mostly installed by mid-May and fully finished by late next year for six coastal provinces affected by the December 26 tsunami, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said on Saturday. He said about 80 per cent of the system — including technology to send alerts to mobile phones and television and radio stations and watchtowers equipped with sirens — will be in place by the middle of next month. — AP

Kidnap suspect held

KABUL: Police have arrested a suspect in the kidnapping of three UN workers in Kabul last year, an official said on Saturday. The man, identified as Tilagai, was detained after a shootout with police north of Kabul last week, Interior Ministry spokesman Latfullah Mashal said. Mashal said authorities believe Tilagai, who like many Afghans goes by one name, “was involved” in the kidnapping of the UN workers last October. — AP

Protest against Taslima

Kolkata: Protests by Muslim groups in West Bengal’s Midnapore made movement difficult for exiled Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen who was there to attend a cultural programme on Saturday. In the face of protests by Jamat-e-Ulema-e-Hind, district administration cancelled the programme where Taslima was to recite her poems. “I am hurt. But why should we buckle under pressure of fundamentalists who threatened to blow up Mumbai airport when they heard I was reaching there?” she said. — HNS

Maldives has oppn party

COLOMBO: A pro-democracy activist returned to the Maldives from exile on Saturday to form the nation’s first official opposition party, a spokesman said. Mohamed Nasheed, chairman of Maldives Democratic Party, which has been operating in exile in Sri Lanka, arrived in Male, party spokesman said. Nasheed was able to enter the country without any trouble, he said. — AP