- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 9, 2006

SUDAN

Thousands protest U.N. troop plans

KHARTOUM — Tens of thousands of Sudanese marched through Khartoum yesterday, protesting plans to deploy U.N. peacekeepers in conflict-torn Darfur and demanding the expulsion of the top U.N. and U.S. envoys in the country.

The Sudanese government also increased its opposition to the deployment, with a top official warning that violence will only increase if troops from the United Nations move in to replace peacekeepers from the African Union.

“If the U.N. arrives, the troubles will spread in the region,” Mohamed Elsamani, Sudan’s minister of state for foreign affairs, said in Nairobi, Kenya.

INDIA

Police gun down bomb suspect

VARANASI — Indian police yesterday fatally shot a man suspected of links to a triple bombing that killed 23 persons in Hinduism’s holy city of Varanasi and sparked a nationwide alert.

Counterterrorism forces shot the man, near Lucknow, just hours after the blasts, which also wounded 68 persons, rocked the ancient city Tuesday evening and raised fears of a Hindu backlash.

The authorities said they suspected that “terrorists,” a euphemism here for Islamic extremists, were behind the carnage.

NORTH KOREA

Missile tests cause concern

SEOUL — North Korea test-fired two short-range missiles yesterday, an unsettling reminder of the reclusive communist regime’s ability to cause instability in the region, where a standoff persists over Pyongyang’s nuclear program.

The development underscored the dangers posed by the country’s longer-range missiles and professed nuclear weapons program.

Pyongyang shocked Tokyo and other nations when it test-fired a ballistic missile over northern Japan in 1998. It has since test-fired short-range missiles many times, including one launched into the Sea of Japan/East Sea in May. In 2003, North Korea test-fired short-range land-to-ship missiles at least three times during heightened tensions over its nuclear program.

JORDAN

11 convicted in Iraq terror plans

AMMAN — A Jordanian military court yesterday convicted 11 militants, including five fugitives, of running a network that recruited and smuggled fighters into Iraq to attack U.S. forces.

The men were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 20 months to 15 years. Four other defendants were acquitted for lack of evidence.

All 15 men — eight Jordanians and seven Palestinians — were charged with recruiting would-be fighters, arranging their passage through Syria to Iraq and plotting attacks against U.S. and Iraqi forces there to “harm Jordan’s relations with a neighboring state,” according to the indictment. The verdicts can be appealed.

IRELAND

102 priests suspected of abuse

DUBLIN — The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin said yesterday that 102 of its priests are suspected of sexually or physically abusing at least 350 children since 1940 — the biggest such admission to date in Ireland.

The office of Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said it was publishing its findings ahead of this month’s expected formation of a government-appointed commission to investigate the history and handling of such abuse in Ireland.

This predominantly Catholic nation has been rocked by waves of church sex-abuse scandals since 1994.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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