71 rescued off sea

COLOMBO: The Sri Lankan navy has rescued 71 Myanmar and Bangladeshi citizens on board a vessel found drifting in the Indian Ocean after its engine failed. Twenty other people died from a lack of water and food as the boat drifted for 12 days, said navy spokesman Cmdr DKP Dassanayake, citing survivors’ accounts. The vessel was about 275 km from the eastern coast when the navy found it on Monday after being tipped off by fishermen, Dassanayake said. The survivors - 50 Myanmar nationals and 21 Bangladeshis - were treated by navy medical teams and are out of danger, he said. — AP

83 rebels killed

COLOMBO: Sri Lankan forces pushed deeper into Tamil Tiger territory in three days of fighting that has left at least 83 guerrillas and nine government soldiers dead, the defence ministry said on Tuesday. It said 14 rebels died in fresh fighting on Monday, while 69 were killed on Saturday and Sunday. A further 31 were “either killed or wounded,” the ministry said. Nine soldiers were killed and 40 hurt in the battles with the LTTE guerrillas, it added. — AFP