4 killed in Thailand

YALA: Four people were killed on Wednesday in a shooting and bomb blasts in Thailand’s south, police said, as rebels appeared to be stepping up a campaign for a separate Muslim state. Two bomb disposal officers were killed and one was wounded when an explosive detonated in Pattani province, police said. Meanwhile, an army lieutenant was killed in a roadside blast and suspected separatist rebels shot dead a Muslim student in neighbouring Yala province. — AFP

Quake jolts B’desh

COX’s BAZAR: A strong earthquake shook coastal areas in southern Bangladesh, and residents rushed out of their homes in panic, officials said. No casualties or damage were immediately reported. The website of the US Geological Survey’s Earthquake Centre gave the quake’s magnitude as 5.2 and said it was centered about 270 km southeast of Dhaka. — AP

Suspected thief held

DHAKA: Bangladesh security forces said on Wednesday they have detained Abdul Hossain, an antique shop owner, in connection with a stolen Nobel medal for literature awarded in 1913 to Indian poet and philosopher Rabindranath Tagore. Hossain was arrested late Tuesday in the capital on a tip that he had the medal stolen in 2004 from the Visva Bharati university museum in India’s West Bengal state, Bangladesh’s elite Rapid Action Battalion said. — AFP

Nandigram violence

KOLKATA: Thousands fled from their homes in Nandigram on Wednesday to escape an offensive launched by the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) activists from the adjoining base of Khejuri to regain control of their lost ground. “Four villagers have been killed since Tuesday in the Khejuri-Nandigram area,” East Midnapore SP SS Panda said. — HNS