Major naval drill

PORT BLAIR: A massive naval drill opens in the Indian Ocean on Tuesday with warships from the United States and four other nations flexing their muscle in one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. Twenty-seven ships and submarines from the United States, Australia, Japan and Singapore will join seven from host India off the Andamans archipelago in the Bay of Bengal for the six-day manoeuvres, officials said. — AFP

India cholera toll 169

BHUBANESWAR: The death toll from an outbreak of cholera in eastern India rose to 169 with thousands of people being treated for the disease, officials said on Tuesday. Government administrators in four affected districts — 500 km southwest of Orissa state’s capital Bhubaneswar — supplied the toll, disputed by opposition parties and aid workers. — AFP

Pervez-Benazir talks

ISLAMABAD: President Gen Pervez Musharraf planned a final attempt on Tuesday to seal a deal with exiled former Premier Benazir Bhutto that could keep the general in power, a senior official said. However, a spokesman for Bhutto said no such meeting had been arranged. Musharraf and Bhutto have been discussing a pact that would shore up the US-allied president’s troubled re-election bid while allowing the former prime minister to return to Pakistan and contest parliamentary elections. — AP

Fresh alert in J&K

SRINAGAR: The Indian army in Kashmir on Tuesday urged people not to touch abandoned shells that rained down on villages after one of its biggest ammunition depots caught fire last month. The warning came after a civilian was killed and six others hurt on Monday evening when they touched an abandoned shell in southern Khundroo village. — AFP

Ponytail thief

JAKARTA: A first-time visitor to the Indonesian capital travelling on one of its pickpocket-prone buses was stunned to find her hair snipped off, a report said on Tuesday. Nuryamah, 35, felt a tug on the back of her head as she took a mid-morning ride in Jakarta on Monday and realised a thief had cut off 40 cm of her locks, the Jakarta Post reported. Police nabbed the culprit, Agus Setiawan, who said he had intended to use the ponytail to make keychains to be sold. He had been stealing hair from commuters for about a year. — AFP