Sentence on major stayed


An Indian court has stayed a military dismissal and jail sentence handed to a major for staging battles to win medals during fighting with Pakistan for control of Kashmir’s Siachen glacier. Major Surinder Singh of the elite Gorkha Regiment was found guilty by a military court last month and sentenced to three years of rigorous imprisonment. A two-judge bench of the Delhi High court on Tuesday stayed the sentences and asked the government and army for some clarifications in the case. — AFP

Deposed leader is ‘stable’


Deposed Chinese leader Zhao Ziyang is ‘stable’ after medical treatment, the foreign ministry said on Tuesday, but denied reports he was dead. Zhao, who was ousted after opposing the military crackdown on the 1989 Tiananmen pro-democracy protests, fell ill recently, the ministry said. Hong Kong’s Oriental Daily on Tuesday said Zhao had died from respiratory failure and complications from heart disease. — AFP

35 Bangladeshis rescued


The Indian Coast Guard has rescued 35 Bangladeshis adrift for eight days after being attacked by sea pirates in the Andaman Sea, a spokesman said on Tuesday. “These fishermen were adrift in a tiny wooden boat in the high seas without food and water after being attacked by pirates on January 1,” the coast guard spokesman said in the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar islands. — AFP

Sonia India’s ‘newsmaker’


Sonia Gandhi, who spurned the job of prime minister after leading the Congress party to a shock electoral victory, has been declared “newsmaker” of 2004 by India’s top news magazine. India Today said in its cover story entitled “Sonia Gandhi: India’s Phoenix” that the Italian-born politician had “changed the Congress story from hope abandoned to home regained. She straddles the most volatile democracy as its most defining individual.” — AFP

Man accidentally kills kids


Three children died when their father, a shepherd, opened a box of bombs he found in a field in southwestern Pakistan, a police official said on Tuesday. The shepherd and his wife suffered injuries in the blast late on Monday and were being treated in a hospital, said Mohammed Khan, an area police official. “It was an accident in which a shepherd, Jan Mohammed, lost his three children,” Khan said. — AP

Guv hurt in chopper crash


An army helicopter crashed in southeastern Indonesia on Tuesday after its tail rotor clipped a building during takeoff, but the crew and passengers - including a provincial governor - were safe, reports said. The Bell 412 HP aircraft went down in Hilwaki, a town in the Maluku island, the news Web site reported. — AP