- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 10, 2007

HAITI

U.N. peacekeepers battle gang in slum

PORT-AU-PRINCE — Hundreds of U.N. peacekeepers raided Haiti’s largest slum yesterday to arrest gang members and seize a section of it — sparking a gunbattle that wounded at least two soldiers, the top U.N. commander said. Witnesses said at least one man died.

More than 500 blue-helmeted troops in armored vehicles entered the seaside slum of Cite Soleil before dawn and tried to seize several abandoned buildings that had been used by gangs to stage attacks, said Maj. Gen. Carlos Alberto Dos Santos Cruz, the Brazilian commander of the 9,000-member international force.

He said gang members fired thousands of rounds at peacekeepers, wounding two. Peacekeepers, including a sniper stationed on a water tower, returned fire. He said he had no information on casualties among gang members or civilians in the densely populated slum of 300,000.

BRITAIN

Police detain man in letter bombs

LONDON — British police said yesterday they had detained a man who claimed to have sent one of a series of letter bombs to hit the country in past weeks but that they continue to investigate a number of other leads.

The 48-year-old man was detained Thursday after he called a radio station to take responsibility for a letter bomb that arrived at a firm in Wokingham, southern England, on Tuesday.

He has been held under the Mental Health Act, police said.

Six persons were hurt in Swansea, South Wales, on Wednesday by the seventh letter bomb in a three-week campaign that has included at least three targets related to the enforcement of traffic rules.

EUROPEAN UNION

Jail term proposed for green crimes

BRUSSELS — Harming the environment should be treated as a crime, the European Commission said yesterday as it put forward a draft law that would punish serious offenses across the European Union with up to five years in prison or a $975,000 fine.

The rules would allow courts put a company out of business and order antigreen criminals to clean up the environment.

The law would punish people and companies behind environmental disasters — such as the Dutch trader that chartered the ship blamed for dumping of illegal toxic waste in Ivory Coast last summer that killed 10, the EU executive said.

CAMBODIA

U.S. warship visits; first in 3 decades

SIHANOUKVILLE — A U.S. Navy warship moored at Cambodia’s main seaport yesterday, the first port call by an American naval vessel to the Southeast Asian nation in more than 30 years.

The USS Gary, a guided missile frigate with 200 officers and crew, was greeted by a team of Cambodian naval officers and U.S. Embassy staff at Sihanoukville, 115 miles southwest of the capital, Phnom Penh.

During the Vietnam War, the U.S. military heavily bombed suspected communist guerrilla strongholds in Cambodia.

BRITAIN

Big prize offered in climate fight

LONDON — British tycoon Richard Branson dangled a $25 million prize before the world’s top scientists yesterday, seeking to spur research into devising ways to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

Former Vice President Al Gore lent his support to the challenge, which came a week after a landmark report by the world’s leading climate scientists and government officials warned that global warming will continue, creating a far different planet in 100 years.

Mr. Branson hopes his offer will lead to a viable machine for purging the Earth’s atmosphere of carbon dioxide. It’s an idea many scientists and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change say may be possible someday.

NETHERLANDS

American wins press photo award

AMSTERDAM — An image of stylish Lebanese youths driving through a Beirut neighborhood devastated by Israeli bombing, taken by American photographer Spencer Platt, won the World Press Photo of the Year award, the jury announced yesterday.

The image contrasts a group of friends against a background of the wreckage of a collapsed building. Mr. Platt took it while working for the photo agency Getty Images. It was taken on Aug. 15, the first day of a cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah, as thousands of Lebanese began returning to their homes.

BRAZIL

Man frees grandson from anaconda

SAO PAULO — A 66-year-old Brazilian man wrestled with a 15-foot anaconda for nearly half an hour to free his grandson from the snake’s crushing death grip, a newspaper reported yesterday.

Matheus Pereira de Araujo, 8, was playing Wednesday near a creek in Cosmorama, 310 miles west of Sao Paulo, when the snake attacked him.

Anacondas, the biggest snakes in the world, are nonvenomous. They kill prey by asphyxiation.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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