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DHAKA: Hundreds of thousands of people flocked to Bangladesh’s presidential palace yesterday to pay their last respects to President Zillur Rahman after he died in a Singapore hospital. People, including women and children, filed past his open coffin on display at Dhaka’s Bangabhaban palace, saluting him. Bangladesh declared three days of national mourning and Thursday was made a public holiday for Rahman. He will be buried at a Dhaka graveyard today afternoon. He had been suffering from kidney and respiratory problems and was flown to Singapore’s Mount Elizabeth Hospital on March 10 after his health worsened.
China wary of US-Japan talks
TOKYO: Japan and the US have started talks on plans in the case of armed conflict over a group of East China Sea islets claimed by Tokyo and Beijing, Japanese media said yesterday, prompting China to complain of “outside pressure”. Shigeru Iwasaki, head of the Japanese Self-Defence Forces’ Joint Staff, and Samuel Locklear, Commander of US forces in the Asia-Pacific, were expected to agree to accelerate the drafting of plans.
UN to support Nepal elections
KATHMANDU: The UN promised yesterday to provide support for Nepal’s general elections after the installation of a caretaker government tasked with steering the country towards the polls. “We congratulate the political parties on the recent agreement,” Jeffrey Feltman, UN Under-Secretary-General for political affairs, told reporters in Kathmandu. As part of the deal, Chief Justice Khilraj Regmi took over last week as the head of an interim administration to oversee the polls to be held by June 21.
China tornado claims 24 lives
BEIJING: At least 24 people died and scores were injured after a tornado carrying huge hailstones lashed southern China, causing widespread devastation and a ferry to capsize, officials said yesterday. The ferry overturned in a river in the southeastern province of Fujian, causing the deaths of 11 people. Nine were killed in Dongguan, in Guangdong province in the south and four in a nearby village.
Activist killed in clashes
DHAKA: Bangladeshi police shot dead an Islamist supporter yesterday as they tried to fend off a mob attack by some 2,000 opposition activists angered by the ongoing war crimes trials of their leaders. Police said supporters of the largest Islamic party, Jamaat e Islami, attacked a group of 90 officers in a village in the western Jhenidah district after they tried to arrest some Jamaat activists. “We had to open fire. One Jamaat supporter was killed in gunfire,” police said, adding eight policemen were injured.
Tablet PCs for Thai students
BANGKOK: Thailand plans to distribute about 1.7 million tablet computers to students and teachers this year. Nine firms from China, India, Germany and the Netherlands are set to join an online tender in April to supply PCs, the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology said.