Politician killed

SRINAGAR: Suspected Islamic rebels overnight shot dead a pro-Indian politician and a Muslim policeman in continuing violence in Indian Kashmir, a police spokesman said on Monday. Bashir Ahmed, a local-level politician of the pro-India National Conference party, was shot and wounded at a bus stand in the Khag area of central Budgam district, the spokesman said. In Srinagar, rebels shot dead a Muslim policeman on late Sunday. — AFP

7 Afghan cops killed

KABUL: Gunmen wearing military uniforms killed seven Afghan policemen in a weekend attack near the western border with Iran, an official said on Monday. "Seven highway police officers were killed in an ambush by unknown assailants," Interior Ministry spokesman Lutfullah Mashal said. An investigation was underway into the attack which occurred on Sunday in Farah province. — AFP

Chen defends arms deal

TAIPEI: Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian on Monday defended a planned $18 billion arms purchase as necessary to deter invasion threats from China while parliament pressed for cuts in the price tag. "Taiwan will by no means be provocative towards the Chinese communists," Chen said. "But in the face of the belligerent Chinese communists who have refused to renounce their use of force against Taiwan ... Taiwan has to step up its defence capabilities." — AFP

8 Aceh suspects killed

JAKARTA: Indonesian troops killed eight suspected Acehnese rebels during gunbattles in the war-torn region, an army spokesman said on Monday. The Free Aceh Movement rebels were killed in clashes across the province on Sunday, said Lt Col Asep Sapari from Banda Aceh. — AP

Jail for aiding Koreans flee

BEIJING: A court in southern China sentenced a Japanese national on Monday to eight months in prison for trying to help two North Koreans flee their homeland. The Chongzuo Intermediate Court in Nanning sentenced Takayuki Noguchi, fined him $2,400 and confiscated his belongings, an official at the Tokyo-based Life Funds for North Korean Refugees said. — AFP

Myanmar activists held

KUALA LUMPUR: Twenty-two Myanmar citizens detained in Malaysia for demonstrating in support of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi were ordered by a court to be released on Monday, but were rearrested for suspected immigration violations, lawyers said. Magistrate Aizatul Akmal Maharani ruled that the activists should be freed after she discharged them of illegal assembly charges - a verdict that stops short of an outright acquittal, said Malaysian attorney Latifah Koya. — AP

Kids ill after drinking milk

BANGKOK: Thirty-two children in a kindergarten near Bangkok were hospitalised on Monday after drinking powdered milk contaminated with pesticide. Officials are investigating how the pesticide got into the milk powder, local health officer Charlermluck Vichitranon said. The children, aged four to five years, suffered stomach pain, diarrhoea and vomiting after drinking the mix. — AP