- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 17, 2005

AFGHANISTAN

17 Spanish troops die in copter crash

KABUL — Two helicopters carrying NATO-led forces to prepare for elections next month crashed yesterday in the desert in western Afghanistan, killing at least 17 Spanish troops, officials said.

There were conflicting reports about what caused the crash, with Afghan, U.S. and NATO officials saying it was an accident, but Spain saying it was possible the copters were shot down. Five troops also were injured during an emergency landing by one of the helicopters.

Afghanistan’s army commander, Gen. Abdul Wahab Walizada, whose troops are providing security in the area near Herat, said the aircraft came too close to each other while flying and their rotor blades collided. Afghan President Hamid Karzai said the crash was caused by a sandstorm.

PERU

Kuczynski named prime minister

LIMA — Peru’s respected outgoing economy minister, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, took over as prime minister yesterday at the helm of a revamped team designed to lead Peru to clean elections next year.

Ending the worst turbulence in his rocky four years in power, President Alejandro Toledo swore in a new Cabinet with seven new ministers — many of them senior figures in his Peru Posible party.

Last week, Mr. Toledo sparked a Cabinet crisis when he appointed controversial ally Fernando Olivera as foreign minister. Carlos Ferrero resigned as prime minister because of the appointment, a move that by law forced the rest of the Cabinet to quit as well.

RUSSIA

Bird-flu outbreak spreads in Siberia

MOSCOW — Russia said yesterday that an outbreak of bird flu in Chelyabinsk was dangerous to humans, as teams of sanitation workers destroyed birds in Siberia in an attempt to prevent the westward spread of the deadly virus.

The H5N1 strain of bird flu is behind the outbreak in Chelyabinsk, a city in the Ural Mountains, the Emergencies Ministry said. It said no cases among humans have been confirmed in Russia.

Russia is battling to contain the outbreak, which top health officials say has killed more than 11,000 birds countrywide and could spread to Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

INDONESIA

Dutch say sorry 60 years after break

JAKARTA — The Netherlands said yesterdaythat it was on the wrong side of history when it tried to maintain control of Indonesia after World War II, and expressed regret for wrongs in the colonial period.

The gesture came on the eve of the 60th anniversary of Indonesia’s Independence Day, commemorating Aug. 17, 1945, when nationalists issued a proclamation of the country’s freedom.

The move, allowed by lame-duck Japanese occupation authorities after Tokyo had surrendered to the Allies, was not recognized by the Dutch, who gave up their claim to Indonesia only in 1949 after a hard-fought war with the nationalists in which many thousands died.

PAKISTAN

3 magazines banned for preaching hatred

KARACHI — Authorities in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province have banned three magazines after accusing them of publishing materials that incite religious hatred, a government official said yesterday.

The three hard-linemagazines — Friday Special, Wajood (Existence) and Zarb-e-Islam (Strike of Islam) — published weekly in the southern port city of Karachi, were closed down Monday, a government spokesman said.

Last month, President Pervez Musharraf called on people to wage a holy war against preachers of hate and announced steps to curb militant Islamic schools and groups.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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