Pak test-fires 2nd missile

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Friday conducted its second test of a nuclear-capable missile, but President Pervez Musharraf insisted it was meant to silence domestic critics rather than send signals abroad. The ballistic missile Hatf V, which can can carry nuclear warheads deep inside Indian territory with its range of 1,500 km, was successfully test fired early on Friday, the military said. — AFP

13 ‘Taliban’ killed

KABUL: Thirteen suspected Taliban were killed in a firefight with US-led coalition and Afghan forces in southern Afghanistan this week, officials said on Friday. The fight broke out on Wednesday on the first day of a joint air and ground operation between coalition and Afghan forces in Kandahar. Eight suspected Taliban were captured while two troops from the US-led coalition and one Afghan soldier were wounded. — AFP

Jailbird dances out

COLOMBO: A Sri Lankan convict who joined his prison’s dance troupe escaped when his jailers took him to perform at a Buddhist temple, an official said on Friday. The prisoner, serving a four-year jail term for robbery, vanished when he was brought from the main prison in Kandy three days ago for the temple ceremony, prison superintendent said. “We take out prisoners with musical talents for such ceremonies, but in this case the inmate managed to mingle with the crowd and disappear.” — AFP

4 Aceh rebels shot dead

BANDA ACEH: Indonesian troops have shot dead four separatist guerrillas and captured another in Aceh province, the military said on Friday. The Free Aceh Movement rebels were killed in several clashes in the districts of Aceh Besar, East Aceh and Bireuen on Thursday, said provincial military spokesman Asep Sapari. Troops seized two automatic rifle and three handguns. — AFP

117 juveniles rounded up

BANGKOK: Twenty-three Thai juveniles were on the loose on Friday after 140 young inmates broke out of a detention centre in Bangkok, with police rounding up most of them by daybreak, officials said. “We have re-arrested 117 of them now and 23 others are still at large,” an official at the Ban Metta Remand Home said. The detained youths were frustrated with the strict searches for drugs, weapons, or instruments that could be used to facilitate their escape from the centre, the official said. — AFP

One held for abduction

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian police have arrested a Pakistani national and launched a manhunt for four others alleged to have kidnapped and tortured a South African diplomat, a senior police official said on Friday. Chief of the city’s criminal investigation department said the Pakistani was detained on Wednesday. “We are questioning him on the motive of the

kidnapping. We have also obtained the identity of four other accomplices.” he said. — AFP

Top cop held for bribery

DHAKA: A senior police officer in Bangladesh has been arrested on Thursday for allegedly offering a bribe to the home minister. Home ministry officials and police said MA Baten, a special superintendent of police of the Criminal Investigation Department, offered taka 300,000 ($5,173) for cancelling his transfer order to a remote hilly district. Baten had dealt with a number of sensational criminal cases and was rewarded twice for his excellent service. After arrest, Baten said, “It’s a conspiracy.” — HNS

Editor spared the noose

LAHORE: The death sentence on a Pakistani editor has been reduced to life imprisonment by a court here, which ruled that the drug trafficking charge for which he was convicted did not warrant capital punishment. Rehmat Shah Afridi, chief editor of the Frontier Post, was arrested April 12, 1999, after his car was stopped and 20 kg of hashish found in it. He denies the drug charges and maintains he was framed for criticising the then government. — HNS

Strike paralyses Karachi

KARACHI: Thousands of police and paramilitaries fanned out across Karachi on Friday as a strike took hold ahead of rallies planned by Islamists to protest recent sectarian violence. Witnesses said the city was at a standstill following the strike called by the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) alliance. “The city is closed but the strike is peaceful and we have got no reports of violence as yet,” city police chief, Tariq Jamil, said. — AFP