18 bodies recovered


The bodies of 18 Americans killed in the worst helicopter crash in the US-led operation in Afghanistan have been recovered and will be repatriated for identification, the US military said on Saturday. Three of those killed in Wednesday’s crash were civilians while the remaining were US service members, said Lieutenant Cindy Moore, spokeswoman for the 18,000-strong US-led coalition here. The Chinook helicopter crashed in bad weather in Ghazni province, around 100 km south of the capital Kabul. The bodies will be flown to the Dover Air Force Base in Delaware for identification, the US military said in a statement. — AFP

Vessels ‘collide’


A Malaysian partrol boat allegedly collided with an Indonesian navy ship close to an offshore oil field claimed by both countries, media reports quoted Indonesian military officials as saying on Saturday. The incident allegedly took place on Friday close to the oil-and gas-rich area in the Sulawesi Sea off the eastern coast of Borneo island, said Indonesian military chief Gen Endriartono Sutarto, state news agency Antara reported. — AP

Buddhist pilgrims hurt


A 200-metre-high wooden platform at a Buddhist temple in Taiwan collapsed early on Saturday, injuring 187 pilgrims preparing for a group photograph, a rescue official said. About 200 pilgrims were climbing the platform in the Lingyen Mountain Temple in the central Nantou County when it came crashing down at 5:45 am, rescue official Cheng Lin-sheng said. The injured were rushed to hospital and four people were in critical condition, he said. — AFP

Bangla boat mishap


A passenger ferry collided with another vessel and sank in southwestern Bangladesh on Saturday, killing one person and leaving five others missing, police said. Most of the 60 passengers either swam ashore or were rescued by other passing boats after the accident in Madaripur district, 72 km southwest of Dhaka. —AP

Aceh peace deal soon


Indonesia hopes to sign a peace deal ending three decades of conflict with separatists in Aceh province in July, its vice president said in an interview published here on Saturday. Vice- president Yusuf Kalla expressed optimism over the peace process ahead of a third round of talks due to get under way in Finland next week. “If all substance can be moved and then principally agreed, we hope in July we can finalise the whole principle of the agreement,” Kalla said in an interview with the South China Morning Post. — AFP

Ban on Tango Charlie


The Assam government has banned the new Bollywood movie Tango Charlie on the ground that it defames the tribal Bodo community. Members of the community say director Mani Shankar, who also scripted the film, erred in many ways in his depiction of the Bodos in the movie and that the film is poorly researched and distorts facts. — HNS

Dandi march anniversary


Several people who joined in the 75th anniversary walk of the historic Dandi march in Gujarat took the opportunity to spread social messages too, apart from talking of Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals. Many of those who walked with Mahatma Gandhi’s great grandson Tushar Gandhi for 26 days along the 388-km Ahmedabad-Dandi route, talked on health hazards of chewing tobacco and on HIV/AIDS. — HNS

Lankan soldier ‘captured’


Tamil Tiger rebels on Saturday claimed they captured a Sri Lankan soldier for allegedly trespassing on guerrilla territory in the island’s eastern province. S Elilan, a regional political leader of LTTE told the pro-rebel TamilNet Web site they captured the soldier wandering in their territory in Mattur 230 km northeast of Colombo. — AP