- The Washington Times - Friday, January 13, 2006

NEPAL

Rally against king draws huge crowds

KATMANDU — A rally against the king organized by mainstream political parties drew tens of thousands of participants Thursday in Janakpur, a city in southeast Nepal, news reports said.

Addressing one of the biggest gatherings yet to protest King Gyanendra’s power grab early last year, top party leaders called on people to join the struggle for “complete democracy.” They also repeated their call for a boycott of nationwide municipal elections Feb. 8.

PAKISTAN

Pakistani chief says arms came from U.S.

NEW DELHI — Powerful Pakistani tribal chieftain Nawab Akbar Bugti has denied assertions by President Pervez Musharraf that his group is being supported by New Delhi, an Indian newspaper reported.

“President Musharraf is using his favorite weapon — lies,” Mr. Bugti told the Hindu newspaper in a satellite-telephone interview from his headquarters at Dera Bugti in Pakistan’s volatile Baluchistan province.

“His objective is to defame the legitimate demands of the people of Baluchistan,” the tribal leader said. Gen. Musharraf said in a weekend interview with Indian television there was proof India was aiding the tribal insurgency in Baluchistan.

SRI LANKA

Suspected rebels kill 9 sailors in ambush

COLOMBO — Suspected Tamil Tiger rebels killed nine sailors Thursday by detonating a fragmentation mine on a main supply route in the island’s north, the military said amid growing fears of a return to civil war.

The strike in army-held territory in north-central Vavuniya district follows similar mine attacks that killed 39 military personnel last month. “It was a Claymore mine attack. Eight people died in the blast and one more has succumbed to his injuries,” said military spokesman Prasad Samarasinghe.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam were not immediately available for comment, but routinely deny involvement in attacks.

Weekly notes …

Five human rights activists are on trial in Uzbekistan for handing out leaflets condemning the killing of civilians in a violently suppressed anti-government revolt in the eastern province of Andijan last May, Vasila Inoyatova, head of the Ezgulik (Kindness), a human rights group, said Thursday. … Hundreds of protesters stormed the headquarters of Mongolia’s biggest political party on Thursday, reportedly forcing the party to reconsider its decision to withdraw from the ruling coalition, a move that would topple the government. No leaders of the Mongolian People’s Revolution Party were in the building, and no injuries were reported.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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