Four killed in Kashmir


A Muslim woman and two Islamic rebels died during a gunbattle in Indian Kashmir, while a member of a pro-India group was killed in a separate incident, police said on Wednesday. The woman, Atiqua Begum, 55, and two rebels died during a fierce two-hour shoot out between Indian troops and Kashmiri rebels in the village of Partapora, 50 km south of the summer capital Srinagar. In a separate incident, suspected rebels on late Tuesday barged into the house of Ali Mohammed, a member of pro-India militant group Ikhwan, and shot him dead in the village of Goolgham. — AFP

China mishap toll 25


China on Wednesday raised the death toll from a firecracker factory explosion to 25, with nine injured. Most of the victims in the Tuesday afternoon blast at the Xiangliu firecracker factory in northern Shanxi province were young women working at the factory. The cause of the explosion was under investigation. — AP

Sonic boom causes panic


Panic gripped villages outside Mumbai after some Indian Air Force (IAF) planes fuelled rumours of a meteorite shower in the area. Sonic boom from the Sukhoi aircraft caused people to run out of their homes on Tuesday night and complain to police about unidentified flying objects, police sources said on Wednesday. — HNS

Zhao’s sickness censured


The Chinese media on Wednesday was silent over the sickness of ousted reformist leader, Zhao Ziyang, which was confirmed by the foreign ministry in a rare comment a day earlier. No newspaper or Internet site has carried the government’s confirmation of the frail health of the former head of the Chinese Communist Party. — AFP