Cabinet expanded

NEW DELHI: Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Thursday added 59 members to his week-old cabinet, rewarding loyal coalition allies with ministerial posts. The PM was sworn in with a small number of ministers on Friday after a row over cabinet seats with his Congress party’s biggest ally, the DMK, held up the process. The dispute was resolved earlier this week and Singh completed the task of forming a government almost a fortnight after the Congress-led alliance secured a second term in office on May 16. The new ministers include cabinet and junior ranks with many young and fresh faces. However the portfolios they will hold were still to be announced. — AFP

Junta’s rebuttal

YANGON: Myanmar on Thursday angrily rejected foreign “pressure and interference” over the trial of Aung San Suu Kyi, denying the case was a political ploy to keep her locked up for elections in 2010. The ruling junta fired off a stinging rebuttal to Asian and European ministers at a meeting in Cambodia, in its strongest reaction yet to the storm of international outrage over its treatment of the pro-democracy icon. The comments came as the sole defence witness took the stand at the closed court in Yangon’s notorious Insein prison after judges disqualified the only other three people called to testify for the Nobel laureate. “It is not political, it is not a human rights issue. So we don’t accept pressure and interference from abroad,” Myanmar Deputy Foreign Minister Maung Myint told counterparts in Phnom Penh. — AFP

Bus mishap: 16 dead

SOFIA: A bus careered down a Bulgarian mountainside and ploughed through pedestrians heading to a religious festival on Thursday, killing at least 16 people and injuring at least 20, authorities said. Police said the driver apparently lost control of the passenger bus, which was carrying 19 elderly people from a local care home, and could not stop as the vehicle came down a steep mountain road near the city of Yambol, some 260 km southeast of Sofia.The bus hit a crowd of people climbing to the peak on their way to attend a traditional religious feast. Yambol Mayor Georgi Slavov said 16 people were killed and at least 20 were being

treated in a nearby hospital. Four of the injured were stated to be in critical condition. — AP