8 killed in stampede

Dhaka: Eight Bangladeshis were trampled to death and 12 more injured on Saturday in two stampedes for new clothes being distributed to the poor to mark Islam’s biggest festival of Eid-al-Fitr. Five people were killed when a crowd of around 1,000 people at Muktagachar in the northern Mymensingh district rushed to get through a tobacco factory gate after it was opened early today, said police officer Ashraful Islam. — AFP

4 killed in Thailand

NARATHIWAT: Four people were shot dead and another four, including two soldiers, were injured in a string of shootings in Thailand’s restive Muslim-majority south, police said on Saturday. The weekend attacks come amid an intensifying insurgency in the region, which has prompted the military government to extend emergency rule in the south, after vowing to try to find a peaceful solution to the conflict. Police also said the death toll from a bomb attack on Friday at a crowded tea house in the southern province of Songkhla, along the violence-plagued border with Malaysia, rose from two to four Saturday. — AFP

Journalist freed

BEIJING: A Chinese court has freed a journalist convicted of extortion after exposing local corruption but has refused to overturn his guilty verdict, his wife said on Saturday. The Intermediate People’s Court in the southern city of Shaoyang ordered Yang Xiaoqing released on bail last month after he had served seven months of a one-year sentence, said his wife, Gong Jie. Last Tuesday, the court ruled that he was exempt from serving the remainder of his sentence but would not overturn the lower court’s conviction, Gong said. Yang, a reporter for a local newspaper, wrote articles for the Hong Kong Commerce Daily detailing alleged corruption in the privatisation of a state-owned company in Longhui county. — AP

9 killed in Pak blast

PESHAWAR: The death toll from a bomb blast in Pakistan’s northwestern city of Peshawar rose to nine on Saturday, after two more injured people died in hospital, police said. The powerful bomb ripped through a crowd of people shopping on Friday for next week’s Muslim festival of Eid-ul Fitr leaving around 40 injured, many of them seriously. — AFP

Soldier held

NEW DELHI: An Indian soldier of the rank of havildar has been arrested here on charges of passing on sensitive documents to an official of the Pakistan embassy. Anil Kumar, who worked for the Army Group Insurance Scheme, was taken into custody on Friday night, said Alok Kumar, deputy commissioner of police (special cell). Kumar said the Pakistani official was also detained but let off after questioning. — HNS

Drug haul

KABUL: Afghan authorities seized over 15 tons of drugs in the past 10 days in operations targeting smugglers in seven provinces, Afghanistan’s top counter-narcotics official said on Saturday. Lt Gen Mohammed Daoud Daoud said the seizures included seven tons of opium, eight tons of marijuana and just over one ton of heroin. — AP

Flood toll hits 143

BANGKOK: The death toll from severe flooding in Thailand and neighbouring Myanmar jumped to 143 after Thai authorities confirmed another 16 victims, the government said on Saturday. At least 124 people have died in Thailand since severe flooding began in late August in the kingdom’s central and northern provinces, the interior ministry said in a statement. In Myanmar, 19 people died in floods across central and eastern parts of the country, but the water has already subsided. — AFP