40 Taliban men killed

ISLAMABAD: Troops continued to battle pro-Taliban militants in Swat, a former tourist region just 160 km from Islamabad, on Wednesday. The army said 40 fighters had been killed in raids on Tuesday and Wednesday on a mountain top position. A report from Quetta said security forces killed Balach Marri, identified by Pakistani authorities as the leader of the Baluchistan Liberation Army. A report from Kabul said Afghan and foreign troops called in airstrikes after clashing with suspected Taliban militants in southern Afghanistan, leaving some 55 insurgents dead, police said on Wednesday. — Agencies

Printing press torched

COLOMBO: A gang of 15 masked men burnt down printing presses of a newspaper group that criticises the government, during an attack in Sri Lanka’s capital on Wednesday, officials said. The attackers broke into the Leader Publications’ printing section in suburban Colombo and set fire to the machines, said company head Lal Wickramatunga. The company publishes The Sunday Leader, The Morning Leader, a weekly newspaper and a Sinhalese-language Sunday newspaper. — AP

4 ultras gunned down

IMPHAL: Four separatist rebels were killed and a paramilitary trooper wounded in separate attacks, even as a security convoy narrowly escaped a powerful landmine explosion in the restive northeastern state of Manipur, officials said on Wednesday. A police spokesman said there were three separate encounters between security forces and outlawed militants in Bishenpur and Imphal districts on Tuesday. — HNS

Cyclone toll 3,300

DHAKA: The Bangladesh government has said it needs a week’s time to clear the confusion over differing assessments of the death toll due to Cyclone Sidr even as some international aid agencies and NGOs estimated that the toll could be as high as 20,000. The official figure so far is 3,300. A report from Pathrghata said reports emerged on Wednesday two children died of diarrhoea on Tuesday in the district of Patuakhali, Daily Star newspaper reported. — HNS