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World in brief: Taliban leader dies in custody

ISLAMABAD – A feared Taliban commander known for beheading opponents died in custody Sunday from wounds sustained during a fierce firefight with Pakistani security forces last week, the military said.

Sher Muhammad Qasab died after being critically wounded in the gunbattle in Swat Valley, the army’s media center said in a statement. Qasab’s three sons were killed when he was captured.

The arrest of Qasab – who had a $121,000 bounty on his head – was the third from the army’s list of 10 most-wanted Swat militants. Qasab allegedly decapitated many Pakistani troops in Swat when the Taliban was in control.

The Pakistan Taliban has been on the run since being cleared from the scenic valley, once a tourist hotspot, and surrounding areas in July after the military launched a major offensive to retake the region in April.

Thailand’s king ailing in hospital

BANGKOK – Thailand’s 81-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world’s longest-serving monarch, has been hospitalized after suffering from a fever and fatigue, the palace announced Sunday.

A statement from the Royal Household Bureau, read on the evening television news, said the king was taken to Siriraj Hospital on Saturday night on the advice of his doctors.

The statement said the monarch, who was also suffering from a loss of appetite, was being treated with a glucose drip and antibiotics while doctors diagnosed his illness.

Bear injures nine at rest stop

TOKYO – A bear injured nine people at highway rest stop in central Japan before being shot dead in a souvenir shop, a firefighter said Sunday.

The black bear seriously injured four men Saturday afternoon in Nyukawa, a small mountain town about 140 miles west of Tokyo, said firefighter Tomohiko Akano.

The 4-foot bear first attacked people at a bus parking lot and then entered a lodge, where it was trapped in a souvenir shop and shot dead by a hunter, according to media reports. No one suffered life-threatening injuries in the attack, which lasted about an hour, reports said.

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