- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 15, 2006

IRAQ

Car bomb kills 7; political deal sought

BAGHDAD — A car bomb killed at least seven persons and wounded 24 on a busy avenue yesterday as Shi’ite politicians floated a proposal to end the standoff over a new government by having Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari step down — but only if his replacement comes from his own party.

The blast occurred at lunchtime outside an east Baghdad restaurant frequented by police officers, four of whom were among the injured, Sgt. Sabah Mohsen said. All the dead were civilians, police said.

Such violence is adding urgency to talks on forming a government of national unity, a task unsettled four months after parliamentary elections because Sunni Arabs and Kurds refuse to join a government led by Mr. al-Jaafari.

AFGHANISTAN

Coalition forces kill 41 Taliban rebels

SARTAK — Security forces backed by U.S.-led coalition helicopters attacked a suspected Taliban hideout in southeastern Afghanistan, sparking an intense battle that killed 41 rebels and six police, a senior official said yesterday.

Provincial Gov. Asadullah Khalid said the assault was based on intelligence that the militants were preparing to attack the regional capital of Kandahar.

EGYPT

Mubarak softens remarks on Shi’ites

CAIRO — Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said in an interview published yesterday he did not mean to insult Shi’ite Muslims nor doubt their national allegiance when he accused them last week of being more loyal to Iran.

Mr. Mubarak told the leading Cairo weekly newspaper Akhbar Al Yom that he only wanted to warn of threats to Iraq’s unity and sovereignty. The president angered Shi’ites in an interview with Al Arabiya television April 9 in which he said: “Most of the Shi’ites are loyal to Iran, and not to the countries they are living in.”

CHINA

Tariffs reduced on Taiwanese imports

BEIJING — China announced tariff cuts on imports of fruit and fish from Taiwan, offering the self-ruled island new trade concessions yesterday in an effort to boost sentiment for uniting with the communist mainland.

The announcement came during a visit to Beijing by Taiwan’s former opposition leader, Lien Chan, who is calling for increased trade ties between the island and the mainland.

Beijing is trying to isolate Taiwan’s leader Chen Shui-bian, whose party favors permanent separation from the mainland.

CHAD

Minister threatens to halt oil supply

N’DJAMENA — Chad’s oil minister, Mahamat Nasser Hassan, said yesterday he wanted a U.S.-led oil consortium to pay at least $100 million by Tuesday to circumvent a World Bank freeze on oil profits or else crude production would be halted.

Chad produces 160,000 to 170,000 barrels of crude per day, a tiny fraction of the world’s oil supply. The central African country is in a state of heightened alert after rebels attacked the capital, N’Djamena, Thursday in the boldest assault yet by fighters who have vowed to end President Idriss Deby’s nearly 16-year rule.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide