Noordin Top buried

Pontian: Tearful relatives of slain regional al-Qaida commander Noordin Top buried him in a traditional Muslim funeral at his Malaysian boyhood village on Friday, two weeks after Indonesian security forces killed him in a shootout. After years of hunting for him, Indonesian police caught up with Noordin in Solo, Central Java, on September 17. He was one of four militant suspects killed in a lengthy siege. Regional leaders say Noordin’s death could help undermine militant activities throughout Southeast Asia. — AP

Student killed in blast

COLOMBO: A schoolgirl was killed by a car bomb in northwestern Sri Lanka that also wounded 12 others on Friday, mostly students who were about to travel in the vehicle, officials said. It was the first major bomb blast in the country since government troops crushed the Tamil Tiger rebels in May after a 25-year insurgency. A 12-year-old girl died a few hours after she was hospitalised, said Dr Soma Rajamanthri of Kurunegala Teaching Hospital. Military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said a private dispute is suspected to be behind the blast.

He said the bomb had been set up to explode when the engine was started on Friday morning near the town

of Kurunegala. — AP

Mudslides toll at 13

ROME: Rivers of mud unleashed by heavy rains flooded parts of the Sicilian city of Messina, leaving at least 13 people dead and several still missing, Italian officials said on Friday. At least 40 people were hospitalised after mudslides swept away cars and caused several buildings to collapse overnight as entire villages and suburbs on the island’s eastern coast were flooded, civil protection chief Guido Bertolaso told reporters. Several more people were believed to be missing but authorities gave varying figures, ranging from five to 20. The government in Rome declared a state of emergency for the area, freeing funds for emergency relief and reconstruction. — AP

‘Jungle’ drive a success

CALAIS: France’s immigration minister flew back to Calais on Friday to say the high-profile bulldozing of a squalid Afghan migrant camp was a success, despite claims its occupants are flocking back. “We went from between 1,000 and 1,500 people in early June to less than 500 today and without doubt probably close to 300,” Eric Besson told journalists. Riot police rounded up scores of mostly Afghan migrants early last week, many of them children, and bulldozed the makeshift camp called the “jungle” that was used as a base to sneak across the Channel to Britain. Besson was in Calais for that operation. — AFP