- The Washington Times - Friday, May 5, 2006

IRAQ

Roadside bomb kills three U.S. soldiers

BAGHDAD — A roadside bomb killed three American soldiers in Iraq yesterday, the military said. The explosion hit their vehicle in a U.S. convoy at about 11:45 a.m. in Babil province south of Baghdad.

Iraqi police said the blast targeted a military convoy near Mahaweel, 35 miles south of Baghdad.

In Samarra, 60 miles north of the capital, American and Iraqi forces imposed a daytime curfew and searched neighborhoods looking for insurgents a day after three militants were killed after they opened fire on U.S. soldiers, police said.

AFGHANISTAN

Two Italian troops killed in blast

KABUL — Two Italian peacekeepers were killed and four wounded in a roadside blast near the Afghan capital yesterday, a spokesman for Afghanistan’s NATO-led peacekeeping force said.

Taliban insurgents have intensified their campaign against foreign troops and the government in recent months. So far, 20 foreign soldiers have died in violence in Afghanistan this year.

Italy has more than 1,700 troops in Afghanistan as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force. Italy handed over command of the force to Britain on Thursday.

KAZAKHSTAN

Cheney on mission to get more oil

ASTANA — Vice President Dick Cheney traveled to Kazakhstan yesterday for talks with President Nursultan Nazarbayev, seeking to maximize access to the vast oil and gas reserves in the Central Asian nation with a troubled human-rights record.

Mr. Cheney became the fourth top administration official to visit the former Soviet republic in recent months, underscoring the importance placed on a country that is strategically located and an ally in the war on terror, as well as rich in energy resources.

RUSSIA

Jury acquits two men of killing U.S. editor

MOSCOW — A jury yesterday acquitted two men accused in the murder of American journalist Paul Klebnikov, a lawyer for one of the defendants said.

The Moscow City Court jury voted to acquit ethnic Chechen Kazbek Dukuzov and Musa Vakhayev in the July 2004 killing, Mr. Vakhayev’s attorney said.

Mr. Klebnikov, the editor of Forbes magazine’s Russian edition, was fatally shot on the street outside his Moscow office. The journalist and author had investigated corruption and sought to shed light on the closed, sometimes violent world of Russian business.

EAST TIMOR

Residents flee capital, fear more violence

DILI — Thousands of people fled East Timor’s capital yesterday as rumors circulated via mobile phone text messages that disgruntled ex-soldiers who clashed with police last week were preparing an attack, officials and witnesses said.

Residents started leaving for villages outside the city a week after fighting in the city between hundreds of former soldiers and police left five persons dead and dozens injured.

The military fired nearly 600 soldiers in March after they went on strike to protest working conditions.

CHINA

Artificial rain washes grime off Beijing

BEIJING — Chinese weather specialists used chemicals to engineer Beijing’s heaviest rainfall of the year, helping to relieve drought and rinse dust from China’s capital, the official Xinhua News Agency reported yesterday.

Technicians with the Beijing Weather Modification Office fired seven rocket shells containing 163 cigarette-sized sticks of silver iodide over the city’s skies Thursday. The reaction that occurred brought as much as four-tenths of an inch of rain, the heaviest rainfall this year.

Last month, another artificial rainfall was generated to clear Beijing after the city suffered some of the fiercest dust storms this decade.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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