Ethiopian strike kills 10 people in Tigray
NAIROBI, Kenya -- Three children were among 10 people killed Thursday when an Ethiopian military airstrike hit the capital of the country's Tigray region, a doctor and a Tigray spokesman said. It was the deadliest of a new round of airstrikes that began last week as the yearlong war intensifies.
International calls for a ceasefire have been in vain as Ethiopian and allied forces battle the Tigray forces who long dominated the national government before being sidelined by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Thousands of people have been killed in Africa's second-most populous country and the world's worst hunger crisis in a decade has begun.
Government spokesman Legesse Tulu said the new airstrike targeted a site in Mekele city used by Tigray forces to make and repair weapons. He said the site forms part of a compound belonging to Mefsin Industrial Engineering, which was also hit last week.
Tigray spokesman Nahusenay Belay denied that the airstrike hit a military target and said it struck a "civilian residence."
Hayelom Kebede, former director of Tigray's flagship Ayder Referral Hospital, said 10 people were killed and 21 injured, and he expected the toll to rise.
India: Nuclear missile test-fire a success
NEW DELHI -- India has test-fired a nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile with a range of 3,125 miles from an island off its east coast amid rising border tensions with China.
The successful launch on Wednesday was in line with "India's policy to have credible minimum deterrence that underpins the commitment to no first use," said a government statement.
The Agni-5 missile splashed down in the Bay of Bengal with "a very high degree of accuracy," said the statement issued on Wednesday night. India is already able to strike anywhere inside neighboring Pakistan, its archrival against whom it has fought three wars since gaining independence from British colonialists in 1947.
India has been developing its medium- and long-range nuclear and missile systems since the 1990s amid increasing strategic competition with China in a major boost to the country's defense capabilities.
Tension between them flared last year over a long-disputed section of their border in the mountainous Ladakh area.
Talks between Indian and Chinese army commanders to disengage troops from key areas along their border ended in a stalemate earlier this month, failing to ease a 17-month standoff that has sometimes led to deadly clashes.
Albanian ex-official charged in '08 blast
TIRANA, Albania -- Albanian prosecutors brought charges against a former defense minister Thursday over a major blast at a munitions disposal factory in 2008 that killed 26 people.
The Special Structure Against Corruption in charge of probing high officials, said it had charged Fatmir Mediu, a defense minister in 2005-08, with abuse of his position.
The same charge was dismissed in 2009 because of his immunity from prosecution as a re-elected member of parliament.
An Albanian court ruled in September to reopen the case. Mediu still is a member of parliament with an opposition party, but parliamentary immunity from criminal cases was abolished in 2012.
Mediu has denied wrongdoing, calling the move politically motivated.
The case resumed following a request from the parents of a 6-year-old boy who was killed while playing in the backyard of their home in Gerdec, outside the capital, Tirana, in the explosion on March 15, 2008. The blast killed 26 people, injured 264 and damaged about 5,500 houses.
In 2012, a court convicted and jailed 19 people over the explosion, but angry relatives of the victims complained that top government officials had evaded justice.
Laos raid seizes 55.6 million meth pills
BANGKOK -- Police in Laos have made one of Asia's biggest-ever drug busts, seizing more than 55.6 million methamphetamine pills in a single raid. The drugs were found in the northern province of Bokeo, the state-run Vientiane Times newspaper reported Thursday.
The pills were found Wednesday in sacks in a house that police searched after earlier discovering 10 million tablets hidden in beer crates on a truck on its way to the capital, Vientiane, the newspaper reported online.
Information from the truck driver led them to the house, where 65 bags of crystal methamphetamine were also found, it read. Lao National Radio reported they weighed a total of 3,380 pounds.
Two men were said to be under arrest. The newspaper said the Lao Brewery Company, the owner of the crates, issued a statement denying involvement in drug smuggling.
"We are deeply disappointed that our crates have been abused as a cover for illegal activities," it quoted the statement as saying.
In a report released in June, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime stated production and trafficking of synthetic drugs in east and southeast Asia has surged despite the pandemic. It reported criminal syndicates adapted to and capitalized on the situation.