15 injured in prison clash

BHUBANESWAR: A clash over food between undertrial prisoners and convicts in an Orissa jail led to 15 people being injured, including the jailer. The fight broke out on Wednesday in the district jail in Puri, 56 km from here, at lunchtime when undertrials and convicts quarrelled over the distribution of food and started pelting each other with stones. Jailor S K Patnaik tried to intervene but was hit on the head. — HNS

Afghan plan in jeopardy

KABUL: A plan to disarm Afghanistan’s warring militias ahead of landmark elections is “seriously in jeopardy,” the United Nations warned on Thursday, because of obstruction by powerful commanders. The Afghan Ministry of Defence adopted a plan in March to disarm 40 per cent of the country’s 100,000 irregular fighters by the end of June. But the UN’s top official in Afghanistan said the plan had yet to begin. “The possibility that it will be completed in time is now seriously in jeopardy,” UN Special Representative Jean Arnault said. — AP

Suspected Pak spy held

NEW DELHI: An Indian suspected of spying for Pakistan and linked to Kashmir-based jehadi groups has been arrested in the capital, police said on Thursday. The Special Cell of Delhi Police arrested Mohammed Kamra from Malviya Nagar in Delhi on Wednesday night. Police are being tight-lipped about documents recovered from Kamra, a native of Begusarai district in Bihar. Two of his alleged accomplices, identified as Mohammed Muzrul and Mohammed Ali, who is a Bangladeshi national, were arrested in West Bengal. A deputy commissioner of police, said: “Kamra had been spying for several years. He had visited the capital on numerous occasions and was trying to set up a base for terrorists.” — HNS

Highway being repaired

NEW DELHI: It will take one and a half years to repair a key highway across Kashmir, military engineers said on Thursday, dealing a blow to plans by India and Pakistan to open a bus route connecting their portions of the divided Himalayan region. The nuclear-armed rivals agreed to set up a bus service between Muzaffarabad and Srinagar amid a recent thaw in relations. But after five decades of disuse, some 17 km of the highway is missing on the Indian side, needing new construction or repairs. — AP

Taiwan official for China

TAIPEI: Taiwan has appointed a new top policy-maker dealing with the touchy, critical issue of China relations, the island’s semi-official news agency reported on Thursday. Joseph Wu, a political science professor who has worked as a top aide to President Chen Shui-bian, will replace Tsai Ing-wen as head of the Mainland Affairs Council, the Central News Agency reported. Mainland Affairs Council is on the front line of Taiwan’s cold war with China. — AP

UK raps Afghan efforts

KABUL: Britain said on Thursday it was dissatisfied with the Afghan government’s efforts to eradicate drugs from the country. The results of a campaign by President Hamid Karzai’s administration to eradicate the poppies used to make opium “were not what we hoped for,” British Foreign Office minister Bill Rammell said. The Afghan government’ bids have been “patchy”. — AFP

LTTE ‘recruiting’ kids

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tiger rebels are recruiting child soldiers again, just weeks after releasing more than 1,000 underaged combatants, the UN children’s agency said on Thursday. The rebelshad freed the child fighters after factional fighting with Tamil Tiger ranks ended on April 12. But UNICEF has received details from the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission of 11 children recruited in April and four in May, said spokesman Geoffrey Keele. — AP