Police officer shot dead in Nepal

KATHMANDU, AUG.21. Suspected Communist rebels fatally shot a police officer on Saturday as they tightened their grip on Kathmandu, blockading the capital for a fourth day to press demands for the release of Government-held insurgents.

The death was the first since the Maoists shut down Kathmandu's road links with the rest of the country through threats of violence earlier this week. The insurgents shot and seriously wounded another policeman and set off two powerful bombs on Friday. After the explosions, the Cabinet promised to meet one rebel demand — that the Government investigate the cases of suspected rebels missing after apparent arrests. But it was not clear if officials also would agree to free known rebel prisoners. There has been no reaction from the rebels, who have been fighting since 1996 to replace the monarchy.