882 ultras killed last year

JAMMU: The Indian Army killed 882 anti-India militants in Jammu and Kashmir in 2004, including 93 top leaders from groups like Lashker-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed, which a spokesperson said is a 15-year record. Of this, 138 militants were killed while attempting to cross the Line of Control. Among those killed were top commanders Sarai Baba of the Jaish-e-Mohammad, Ghulam Rasool Dar of the Hizbul Mujahideen and Abu Hanzal of the Lashker-e-Taiba outfits. — HNS

China population to soar

BEIJING: The population in China, the world’s most populous nation, will officially hit 1.3 billion this week, the state-run Xinhua news agency said on Monday, citing government figures. The country’s population has been close to 1.3 billion of the world’s more than six billion people and has been rounded up to that figure in recent years. But it will only officially reach that exact number by Thursday, according to National Bureau of Statistics calculations. — AFP

Snakebite kills PoW

KABUL: The US military in Afghanistan said on Monday that one of the eight Afghan detainees who have controversially died in their custody may have been killed by a snakebite. Sher Mohammad Khan, held late last year for suspected links to the ousted Taliban regime, complained to his jailers that he was bitten by a snake hours before his death, a high-ranking US military official told reporters. Doctors could not find evidence of a bite when he was first detained but medics later said he had stopped breathing, said the US military commander in eastern Afghanistan. — AFP

11 Afghan refugees drown

MULTAN: Ten Afghan refugee children and one woman drowned in a river in northwest Pakistan after being swept away by heavy rain, police said on Monday. “Rescue teams have fished out the bodies of 11 Afghan refugees who drowned in the River Kurram on Sunday,” senior police officer Fayyaz Ahmed Mir said. The dead were from the southern Afghan province of Khost. — AFP

Minister in soup

BHUBANESWAR: An Orissa minister faces trouble for dancing at a New Year eve gathering when his political party was publicly opposed to any gala festivities post-tsunami tragedy. The local Eenadu Television on Monday aired the footage of Higher Education Minister Samir Dey dancing on December 31 night at a Puri hotel, Holiday Resort. Though the minister was shown attempting to cover his face later, earlier television footage reveals his identity. — HNS