Hasina's husband dies

DHAKA: The husband of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina died on Saturday at a Dhaka hospital following a lengthy period of ill health. MA Wajed Mia's death came after a prolonged battle with diabetes as well as kidney and heart-related illnesses, John Gomes, general manager of Square Hospital in Dhaka, told AFP. Mia, 67, underwent treatment in Singapore earlier this year and had been in hospital for more than a month in Dhaka before his death, Gomes said. He had heart bypass surgery in 1997. Sheikh Hasina was at Mia's bedside when he died, Gomes said. Mia, an eminent nuclear scientist in Bangladesh, was at one time chairman of the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission. — AFP

California blaze

SANTA BARBARA: Firefighters struggled to halt a wildfire raging in California on Saturday as the blaze doubled in size and authorities warned 23,000 more people could be forced to flee. At least 80 homes have been destroyed and 30,500 people evacuated from the upmarket coastal town of Santa Barbara in the wind-driven blaze that has forced firefighters onto the defensive since Tuesday. Authorities widened the scope of possible evacuation areas to include an additional 23,000 people, despite a lull in winds and increased humidity that gave a boost to the firefighting effort later Friday. Flames from the latest fire were rapidly approaching Montecito on Friday, officials said, with talkshow queen Oprah Winfrey reportedly be packing up belongings from her 50-million-dollar estate in the region. — AFP

US missile strike

PESHAWAR: A suspected US drone fired missiles at a compound in a northwestern Pakistan tribal area bordering Afghanistan on Saturday, killing six militants and injuring 10 others. The number of casualties could rise, local administration official Azmat Jamal told AFP. The missiles hit a compound at Tabbi Langar Khel village in restive South Waziristan tribal district bordering Afghanistan, two security officials said earlier. The official told AFP that insurgents were active in the area where the missile landed. The latest drone strike comes as Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari is visiting the United States. Around 370 people, including suspected militants, have died in around 39 such attacks since August 2008. — AFP

Prince Charles lecture

LONDON: A group of architects say people should boycott a lecture by Prince Charles to protest his criticisms of modern design. In a letter published in Britain's The Guardian newspaper on Saturday, nine architects urged others to shun the talk on Tuesday. The Prince of Wales will speak at London's Royal Institute of British Architects. The prince has repeatedly attacked modern design, and criticised heavy use of steel and glass in building projects. Architects say his influence means more people are likely to oppose such designs in public consultations. They wrote that he threatens "an important element of our democratic process." The prince was criticized last month by another group of architects, over comments about plans to develop a former army barracks. — AP