- The Washington Times - Friday, August 12, 2005

NEPAL

Army blames faulty Indian rifles

KATMANDU — The Nepali army said yesterday faulty Indian assault rifles were partly responsible for its heavy death toll in a gunbattle with Maoist rebels as troops hunted for 75 soldiers still missing after the fighting.

Forty-three soldiers and a civilian were killed when hundreds of rebels attacked an army base in the remote Kalikot district, 375 miles from the capital, Katmandu, late on Sunday.

The Maoists, fighting to topple Nepal’s monarchy and establish communist rule, say they captured 52 soldiers after the raid, a claim rejected by the army.

Army spokesman Brig. Gen. Dipak Gurung said the Indian-manufactured INSAS rifles malfunctioned during the fighting which continued for about 10 hours.

PAKISTAN

Nuclear scientist’s kin arrested for assault

ISLAMABAD — A son-in-law of Pakistan’s disgraced nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan was being held in custody after an assault on two British diplomats in Islamabad, police said yesterday.

The two diplomats, a man and woman, suffered a “vicious and unprovoked attack” by several young men as they were walking home at night in a posh district of the Pakistani capital, a British High Commission spokesman said.

A motive for the attack in the early hours of Sunday morning had not been ascertained, another British official said.

SRI LANKA

Tamil couple killed, Tigers blamed

COLOMBO — Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels yesterday fatally shot a Tamil television presenter and her political activist husband in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo, police said as a constable was killed elsewhere.

Two gunmen pumped five bullets into the four-month pregnant Relanki Selvarajah at the couple’s communications center in Colombo’s Bambalapitiya area, a police official said.

He said the husband, S. Selvarajah was shot in the head and killed with a single bullet.

The anti-Tiger Democratic People’s Liberation Front said Mr. Selvarajah was one of their supporters and his wife was a part-time television presenter at a state-run network.

TAJIKISTAN

U.S. grant to fund radio stations

DUSHANBE — The United States has disbursed $887,000 to fund creation of five independent radio stations in the Central Asian former Soviet republic of Tajikistan, a nongovernmental organization (NGO) connected to the project said yesterday.

Troy Etelain, director of the Tajikistan office of global media promoter Internews, said journalists, managers and technical personnel would be trained over the course of the next 18 months on “how news and objective reporting should be done.”

Internews was among Western NGOs that encouraged development of opposition press in Ukraine last year. From wire dispatches and staff reports

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