6 Lanka rebels killed

COLOMBO: Two battles along the front lines in northern Sri Lanka killed six Tamil Tiger rebels, the military said on Tuesday. In one fight in the Mannar district southwest of rebel-held territory, troops killed two rebels on Monday, the military said. In the second battle in the nearby Vavuniya district, troops killed four rebels and one soldier was wounded, the military said. No independent confirmation of the killings was available and rebel spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan did not answer his telephone. — AP

Condom campaign

JAKARTA: Indonesia is to launch its first-ever national campaign to promote condom use to prevent unwanted pregnancies and the spread of sexually-transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS, officials said on Tuesday. National Condom Week will coincide with World AIDS Day on December 1, said Sugiri Syarief, head of the National Family Planning Board who is overseeing the event. — AFP

Farmer sentenced

BEIJING: A court in central China sentenced a farmer to 12 1/2 years in prison for killing and selling endangered white swans that are under state protection, a court official on Tuesday. Zhao Naishun, 42, of Henan province, was accused of poisoning 37 white swans on the Yellow River last fall and selling them to another area farmer for 150 yuan each, according to the state-run Xinhua News Agency and Li Guowang, an official at People’s Court of Lingbao. Zhao, who was arrested in May, said he would not appeal the sentence handed down on Friday, Xinhua reported. — AP

Woman raped

BHUBANESWAR: A woman leaving a Hindu temple was dragged from a crowded bus and gang-raped on Monday by five men in eastern India, police said on Tuesday. There were more than 50 passengers on the bus and the 27-year-old woman was traveling with a male relative, “but unfortunately no one came forward to help,” police officer Laxmidhar Sahu said. Four of her alleged attackers were arrested and two men who worked on the bus were taken into custody for allowing the woman to be dragged away, Sahu said. Police were searching for the fifth suspect, he said. — AP

‘Island’ emerges

Blitar (Indonesia): An island that has emerged in the middle of the crater lake of Indonesia’s Mount Kelut may have been effectively plugging the volcano, but it could be dislodged, scientists warned today.

The peak in East Java, whose fertile slopes are populated by thousands of people, was put on high alert on October 16, but has not fully erupted, puzzling scientists who say it is impossible to predict what may happen next. “The island was visually captured by our CCTV (closed-circuit television) on Sunday, with smoke now pluming up to one kilometre (half a mile) from it,” volcanologist Saut Simatupang said. He estimated that the 100-metre long island loomed 20 metres above the surface of the crater lake. The temperature of the lake has soared so high it has broken measuring instruments, he said.

“We still cannot determine whether (the island) is new product”. — AFP