- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 20, 2006

PAKISTAN

Al Qaeda militant killed in gunfight

PESHAWAR — A suspected Islamic militant linked to top al Qaeda leaders was killed yesterday along with a security official in a gunfight at a roadblock near the Afghan border, the Pakistani army said. The gunfight occurred in the remote northwestern Bajur tribal region.

Also yesterday, militants ambushed a convoy of Pakistani troops in a northwestern tribal region near the Afghan border, killing seven soldiers and wounding 22.

UZBEKISTAN

IAEA removes nuclear material

VIENNA, Austria — Spent nuclear fuel containing enough weapons-grade uranium to produce at least two bombs was safely returned to Russia from Uzbekistan this week in a high-security classified operation, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog agency disclosed yesterday.

The Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency said the operation, which was completed Wednesday after six years of planning, was the first time since the breakup of the former Soviet Union that fuel used in a nuclear research reactor was returned to Russia.

The material — nearly 139 pounds of spent highly enriched uranium — was transported over 16 days in four high-security shipments to Russia’s main nuclear waste-processing plant in Mayak.

SRI LANKA

Rebels pull out of peace talks

KILINOCHCHI — Tamil Tiger rebels pulled out of Sri Lankan peace talks indefinitely yesterday, saying the island was heading for war and dashing hopes that a Norwegian peace mission could stem the rising violence.

About 80 people have been killed in the past two weeks in a series of suspected Tiger attacks, ethnic riots and unsolved killings for which the two sides blame each other.

Talks due to take place in Switzerland next week had been seen as the best chance to reduce tension, but the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam said yesterday they would not attend until “normality” returned.

TURKEY

Prosecutor fired for accusing general

ANKARA — A prosecutor lost his job yesterday for “dishonoring” his office after he accused a top general of trying to foment Kurdish unrest in Turkey, sparking tensions between the powerful military and the government.

The move underlined how risky it can be to criticize Turkey’s revered armed forces, despite a flurry of EU-linked reforms aimed at curbing the generals’ influence.

The High Board of Judges and Prosecutors suspended Ferhat Sarikaya, a public prosecutor in the eastern town of Van, after he charged Gen. Yasar Buyukanit of trying to foment unrest in Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast and harm Turkey’s bid to join the European Union.

AFGHANISTAN

Lawmakers back Karzai Cabinet picks

KABUL — Lawmakers approved President Hamid Karzai’s choices for key ministries yesterday in a Cabinet vote that gave the U.S.-backed leader a boost as he tries to curb an intensified insurgency more than four years since the Taliban’s ouster.

But five of Mr. Karzai’s nominees, including the incumbent information and economy ministers and the sole woman, were rejected. The vote was the first by elected lawmakers to endorse a Cabinet following landmark parliamentary elections last year.

SINGAPORE

Election called for May 6

SINGAPORE — Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong dissolved parliament yesterday and called a May 6 election that will be the first real test of his leadership.

Mr. Lee, eldest son of Singapore’s founding father, Lee Kuan Yew, was appointed to the post in August 2004 but is now seeking his own mandate. He had been deputy prime minister since 1990.

MEXICO

Police beheaded in drug hits

ACAPULCO — Suspected drug gang hit men decapitated two policemen and placed their heads outside government offices in this Mexican beach resort yesterday, in a gruesome reprisal for a crackdown on crime.

The killers set the severed heads of the two officers on a wall outside local government offices in Acapulco’s La Garita neighborhood early yesterday, accompanied by a note that read: “So that you learn some respect.”

The resort is in the middle of a bloody turf war between two cartels fighting for control of the lucrative local drug trade.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide