- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 13, 2006

SRI LANKA

16 killed as blasts trigger violence

COLOMBO — Two explosions and subsequent violence yesterday killed 16 persons in Trincomalee in northeast Sri Lanka, authorities said. The military has placed the restive town under curfew.

Nine persons were killed in clashes in which shops were burned. A land mine hit a truck carrying policemen, killing two officers and wounding two, police said. A second explosion killed at least five persons, including a soldier.

On Tuesday, an explosion in Trincomalee killed 11 persons and wounded 11, including two British tourists.

The military blamed Tamil separatist rebels for the explosions. A Local Tamil politician blamed the riots on Singhalese mobs.

ITALY

3 held on suspicion of aiding Mafia boss

ROME — Police yesterday arrested three persons suspected of aiding Italy’s No. 1 fugitive and Mafia boss Bernardo Provenzano, who was captured a day earlier after more than four decades on the run.

Provenzano, the Mafia “boss of bosses,” was captured Tuesday in a farmhouse outside his power base of Corleone — the Sicilian town made famous in the “Godfather” movies.

ITALY

Request to extraditeAmericans denied

ROME — The justice minister has refused to send to the United States a request for the arrest and extradition of 22 purported CIA agents accused of kidnapping an Egyptian cleric from a Milan street in 2003, the ministry said yesterday.

Justice Minister Roberto Castelli told prosecutors who have accused the Americans that he had decided against forwarding their request to Washington.

Mr. Castelli, who previously called the prosecutors “anti-American,” had indicated that he was unwilling to press the case, which had damaged U.S.-Italian relations.

FRANCE

Lower house passes compromise jobs law

PARIS — France’s lower house of parliament yesterday approved a compromise youth job plan to replace a measure that triggered nationwide protests and plunged the country into crisis.

The compromise plan, worked out with unions and members of President Jacques Chirac’s ruling party, includes training programs and internships for disadvantaged youths instead of the job contract that would have allowed employers to fire workers younger than 26 in the first two years without giving a reason.

IRAQ

Beauty queen goes into hiding

AMMAN, Jordan — Iraq’s newly crowned beauty queen has gone into hiding, fearing she will be targeted by Islamic militants who reportedly threatened to kill other women who participated in a Baghdad pageant last week.

Silva Shahakian, an Iraqi Christian, received the title of Miss Iraq when the initial winner stepped down after receiving death threats and two runners-up bowed out, a person familiar with the event said yesterday.

INDIA

Actor’s death sparks violence

BANGALORE — An icon of south Indian cinema and star of more than 200 films, Rajkumar, died yesterday, sparking widespread violence as distraught fans torched buses and ripped billboards in the country’s high-tech hub.

The revered actor, who gained nationwide fame in 2000 when he was kidnapped by notorious forest bandit Veerappan, died at his home in Bangalore in the southern state of Karnataka after a heart attack. He was 77.

His death effectively closed down much of the city, witnesses said, with major businesses — including cinema halls — downing shutters out of respect but also in fear of violent mobs that swept through the city as news of the actor’s passing spread.

Veerappan was fatally shot in 2004.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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