Briefly: Asia

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INDIA

Secord group claims responsibility for Delhi blast

NEW DELHI — Indian federal investigators on Thursday examined two unverified claims by militant groups that they were behind a deadly bomb blast at New Delhi’s High Court that left 12 people dead.

One emailed claim purportedly sent from Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami (HuJI), a Pakistan-based Islamist militant group, was traced to an Internet cafe in Kishtwar, a town in the volatile Muslim-majority region of Indian-controlled Kashmir.

Local police told Agence France-Presse that two brothers who owned the cafe and one employee were taken in for questioning, but no formal arrests had been made.

A separate email sent to media organizations Thursday said the bomb was the work of the home-grown Indian Mujahideen and threatened another attack on a shopping mall next week.

Neither claim was confirmed by police as genuine, but Internal Security Secretary U.K. Bansal said intelligence agencies were “seriously examining” both emails.

CHINA

Muslim militant group takes credit for attacks

BEIJING — A militant Muslim group claimed by video it carried out recent attacks in western China that killed at least three dozen people, a monitoring group said.

The video purportedly was made by the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP), which seeks independence for China’s western Xinjiang region, the SITE Intelligence Group said this week.

The militants are believed to be based in Pakistan, where security experts say core members have been trained by al Qaeda.

Xinjiang is home to largely Muslim ethnic Uighurs who say they have been marginalized by an influx of China’s Han majority to the region. Ethnic riots there two years ago killed at least 197 people.

Security has been raised, but still, dozens were killed in slashings and arson and hit-and-run attacks in the cities of Hotan and Kashgar in July.

The more than 10-minute video released in late August features Turkistan Islamic Party leader Abdul Shakoor Damla, whose face is blotted out, saying those attacks were revenge against the Chinese government.

Ben Venzke, of the Washington-based IntelCenter, another monitor of militant groups, said TIP threatened to attack the 2008 Beijing Olympics and should be taken seriously.

MALAYSIA

Borneo tribes lose case over construction of dam

KUALA LUMPUR — A 12-year legal battle by indigenous tribes in Malaysia against their ancestral land being seized to build a mega-dam on Borneo Island ended in defeat Thursday in the nation’s top court.

Indigenous people present at the court said they were devastated by the ruling, while activists said it could encourage the government to requisition more land on Malaysia’s part of Borneo and create “internal refugees.”

The fight, seen as a test case, began in 1999, when the state government of Sarawak requisitioned land for the Bakun hydroelectric dam and a timber pulp mill on Borneo, famous for its biodiversity.

About 15,000 people were forcibly relocated to make room for a reservoir about the size of Singapore and the dam, which began generating power last month.

JAPAN

Russian military drills get close to Japan’s airspace

TOKYO — Japan has been alerted to Russian military air drills being conducted “unusually close” to its airspace near a group of disputed islands, a top government spokesman said Thursday.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said the Russian military had designated an area within its own airspace as dangerous for aviation northeast of Japan’s Hokkaido Island as it continued drills above the Okhotsk Sea.

The top government spokesman said the zone “seems to be set unusually close” to Japanese airspace.

“The government has conveyed our concern to Russia, making inquires about the link between the drills and the flight danger zone,” he said. “The government is closely watching the situation from the national security point of view.”

The disputed territories, controlled by Russia and called the Kuril Islands, lie on the fringe of the Okhotsk Sea and also are claimed by Japan, where they are collectively known as the Northern Territories.

AFGHANISTAN

Roadside bombs kill eight as forces prepare for spike

KABUL — Roadside bombs killed eight people around Afghanistan in the past two days as security forces braced for a possible spike in violence ahead of the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks against the United States, NATO and Afghan officials said Thursday.

NATO said two of its service members were killed in the south and officials said a Turkish engineer and five Afghan soldiers were killed in separate incidents in the country’s west and east. NATO did not provide any further details about the attack and did not prove their nationalities.

The NATO deaths bring the total in September for international forces to seven. A total of 330 members of the international military coalition have died so far this year.

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