2 Palestinians killed

JERUSALEM: The Israeli military says troops have killed two armed Palestinians in a pre-dawn clash on the Gaza-Israel border. The military says soldiers spotted the two men planting a bomb near the border fence and crossed into Gaza to engage them. The gunmen were killed in the ensuing firefight. The military says the men were carrying rifles, grenades and an improvised explosive device. The Gaza-Israel border has been relatively quiet in recent months, following the Israeli offensive against Hamas that ended in mid-January. But sporadic border violence and rocket fire continues. Friday’s gunfight took place near one of the border crossings where Israel allows some humanitarian aid into the territory. Gaza has been blockaded by Israel and Egypt since Hamas seized power there nearly two years ago. — AP

UAE, US sign N-pact

DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates and the United States have signed a bilateral agreement for peaceful nuclear energy cooperation, which will allow the gulf state to minimise its dependence on other nations to import natural gas for electricity generation. According to the United Arab Emirates’ official news agency, WAM, the agreement was signed between Yousef Al Otaiba, United Arab Emirates Ambassador to the United States of America and American state department officials. The pact has been sent to the United States Congress for review, which will have 90 days to amend or reject it, before it can come into force. The so-called “123 Agreement” establishes a legal framework for commerce in civilian nuclear energy between the two countries, reinforcing the United Arab Emirates’ new global standard for peaceful nuclear energy development, the agency said. — Agencies

Atlantis fails to land

CAPE CANAVERAL: Thunderstorms prevented space shuttle Atlantis and its crew from landing on Friday, leaving them to circle the Earth hoping the weather conditions would improve by the following day. The news came as no surprise to the seven astronauts, who are wrapping up a successful mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope. For several days, the weather outlook had been grim. By dawn, all the forecasts proved to be true and there was no hope of improvement, forcing NASA to pass up both landing opportunities on Friday morning. — AP

3 militants shot dead

SRINAGAR: Three suspected militants were killed on Friday in a gunbattle with Indian troops near the border dividing Kashmir between India and Pakistan, the military said. "The gunbattle erupted early today (Friday) in Tangdhar sector near the Line of Control," said Indian army spokesman Uma Maheshwar. He said the militants were killed when they tried to cross the heavily militarised line. "The operation is still on in the area," the spokesman said. Clashes with militants waned after India and Pakistan began peace talks in 2004, but recent months have seen an upsurge in attempted infiltrations,

according to the Indian army

officials. — AFP

Drug cartel busted

MEXICO CITY: Soldiers have arrested a suspected drug cartel member listed among Mexico's 37 most-wanted traffickers, the Defense Department said on Friday. Raymundo Almanza Morales was captured Wednesday in the northern city of Monterrey along with three other suspects after soldiers received an tip, the department said in a statement. Almanza is named as a top lieutenant of the Gulf drug cartel on the list of most-wanted traffickers that the government published in March. His brother, Octavio Almanza, was arrested in February on suspicion of masterminding the killing of an army general in Cancun. The Defense Department said Octavio Almanza told authorities that his brother had been deployed to oversee drug trafficking operations in Guatemala and Belize. — AP