4 Russian soldiers killed

MOSCOW: Four Russian soldiers were killed and another four wounded in a rebel attack on Sunday against a federal convoy in breakaway Chechnya, interior ministry officials said on Monday. The armoured column was travelling through a gorge 4 km from the village of Kiri in the mountainous southern Shatoi region when a blast erupted. The rebels then opened fire with automatic weapons on the Russian convoy, which was transporting regular troops, interior ministry officials and FSB secret service personnel reported.

Jewish synagogue attacked

MOSCOW: Unknown assailants threw a stun grenade into the courtyard of a Jewish synagogue in the Russian Caucasian republic of Dagestan, the Ria Novosti news agency said on Monday, adding that there were no casualties. The attack shattered windows in the synagogue, in the city of Derbent, the agency said, without giving the date of the incident.

Two executed in Iran

TEHRAN: A woman convicted of running a brothel and a man convicted of hammering another man to death when he was just 17 years of age have been executed in Iran. In the first case, the woman was given 80 lashes and then hanged after being convicted of luring young girls and women to work in a brothel in Qazvin. In the second execution, reports said a man convicted of killing a 65-year-old, five years ago, had been hanged on Sunday.

Rabin killer’s plea to wed

JERUSALEM: The killer of former Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin has submitted an official request to marry a divorced mother-of-four. Yigal Amir, 34, confirmed in a letter to the director of Ayalon prison, where he is serving a life sentence in solitary confinement for the 1995 murder of Rabin, that he intends to marry Larissa Trimbobler, an immigrant from the former Soviet Union.

Moderate quake hits Japan

TOKYO: An earthquake measuring 4.6 on the Richter scale struck northern Japan on Monday. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage. The quake occurred at 5:45 pm (0845 GMT), with its focus 70 km below sea-level just off the Pacific coast of Miyagi Prefecture, roughly 400 km north of Tokyo.

Trial postponed

NAIROBI: The trial of four Kenyans charged with murder in connection with the 2002 car-bombing of an Israeli-owned hotel near the Kenyan port city of Mombasa was on Monday deferred toWednesday. Judge Kalpana Rawal postponed the opening of the trial after defence lawyers asked for more time to scrutinise the credentials of court assessors.

UK warship to visit India

LONDON: Royal Navy destroyer HMS Gloucester has sailed from Britain on a deployment which will see her join a French task group and visit the Middle East and India. The type-42 destroyer left Portsmouth on Thursday for Barcelona. After a short visit to the Spanish city she will call in at Toulon on the French Mediterranean coast to integrate into the French task group, headed by the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier FS Charles

de Gaulle. The two-week build-up finishes

towards the end of February when the

group will sail east for the Suez Canal and the Indian Ocean.

Seoul plans to build subs

SEOUL: South Korea has formed a research team to build 3,500-tonne new submarines as part of efforts to reduce its reliance on US firepower, military officials said on Monday. Some $1.4 million has been set aside for a two-year study to develop the new submarines but no decision has been made yet on how they will be powered.

Search on for fishermen

SAN FERNANDO: Rescuers searched on Monday for at least 29 fishermen still missing after a storm that hit the northern Philippines over the weekend, killing at least five people. The number of survivors who swam to safety or were plucked from the rough seas climbed to 179, the National Disaster Coordination Council said. One survivor reported a gruelling 10-hour swim to safety. Three bodies of fishermen were recovered over the weekend and another two on Monday.

Israel to free prisoners

JERUSALEM: Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said on Monday that Israel was ready to free some Jordanian prisoners independently of an exchange which has been agreed with the Hezbollah. "We are ready to free Jordanian prisoners and I have no doubt that this issue will be the order of the day in my conversations in Jordan," Shalom said.