Filipinos fatally stabbed

BEIJING: A man fatally stabbed two Filipino tourists in central Beijing and wounded a third, Philippine authorities and Chinese state media said on Friday. The Philippine foreign affairs department identified the slain tourists as Emmanuel Madrigal and his daughter, Regina Mia. Authorities did not release the name of the injured person nor the person’s condition. — AP

Myanmar junta blamed

BANGKOK: Myanmar’s junta likely used chemical weapons in a recent attack against ethnic rebels near the Thai border, an international human rights group said on Friday. London-based Christian Solidarity Worldwide said it has “circumstantial evidence” that Myanmar forces fired an artillery shell that emitted yellow smoke and a “highly irritating odour.” — AP

Lankan army deserters

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s military said on Friday it has listed over 70,000 soldiers as deserters and appealed to them to get de-listed so they can lead a normal life and stop running from the law. Brigadier Daya Ratnayake said 80,661 soldiers deserted military ranks during the two decade war with Tamil Tiger rebels, which ended with a cease-fire in 2002. — AP

BJP wants Lalu to quit

NEW DELHI: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday demanded Railway Minister Lalu Prasad’s resignation over a train accident in Gujarat that claimed 16 lives, describing his response as callous and indifferent. “The BJP strongly condemns the callous, indifferent and politically motivated action of Lalu Prasad. He should take moral responsibility for the accident and resign,” BJP leader Arun Jaitley said. — HNS

French PM visits Shanghai

SHANGHAI: French Premier Jean-Pierre Raffarin visited China’s business hub of Shanghai on Friday, a day after China signed contracts for more than euro $4 billion worth of airplanes and other French-made goods. Raffarin visited an exhibition at Shanghai’s Pudong financial centre and later dined with Mayor Han Zheng. — AP

Acid attack on Delhi girl

NEW DELHI: A 16-year-old girl suffered burns, mostly on her face, after being attacked with acid on a busy road in the capital by two unidentified people on Friday. Lakshmi, a Class 7 student, was attacked by two assailants who were riding a scooter on Humayun Road in New Delhi at 11 am. She was admitted to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital. The girl is out of danger but has suffered 18 per cent burns. She was not in a position to make a statement, police said. — HNS

Court fiat to HK body

HONG KONG: A judge ordered Hong Kong’s anti-graft watchdog on Friday to stop secretly recording conversations of people under investigation, calling it a violation of civil liberties protected by the territory’s constitution. Judge Fergal Peter Sweeney ruled thus after a defence lawyer questioned if it was legal for the Independent Commission Against Corruption to secretly surveil his client and record his conversations. — AP

CBI seeks permission

LUCKNOW: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has sought Uttaranchal’s permission to prosecute two officers belonging to the Indian Police Service allegedly involved a recruitment scam. “We have sought permission of the Uttaranchal government to prosecute PD Raturi, ex-director general of police and Rakesh Mittal, additional director general of police, directly dealing with the recruitment of 228 sub-inspectors in 2002-2003,” a CBI official said. — HNS

Holy festivals

NEW DELHI: Colourful processions and prayers marked the festivals of Milad-un-Nabi and Mahavir Jayanti on Friday as Indians celebrated the birth anniversaries of two Prophet Mohammed of Islam and Lord Mahavir of Jainism. Members of both minority communities in various cities took out processions. Offices, shopping complexes and commercial areas were closed. — HNS