- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 6, 2007

ISRAEL

Army says Hezbollah hid bombs on border

JERUSALEM — The Israeli army yesterday said it uncovered four bombs on the Israeli side of the border with Lebanon and accused Hezbollah guerrillas of planting the explosives in recent days.

If confirmed, the bombs would mark a violation of a U.N.-brokered cease-fire by Hezbollah and indicate a failure by international peacekeepers to prevent new attacks on Israel.

Lt. Col. Guy Hazoot, the operations officer of Israel’s northern division, said an Israeli patrol discovered the explosives, hidden in containers that looked like boulders.

Israel and Hezbollah fought a 34-day war last summer. The border area has largely remained quiet since the Aug. 14 cease-fire took hold.

SOUTH KOREA

Mass defection decimates ruling party

SEOUL — A group of 23 lawmakers deserted South Korea’s ruling Uri Party today, dumping the liberal group into the second-ranked slot in parliament and leaving it in disarray ahead of this year’s presidential election.

The defection may scuttle attempts at economic and constitutional reform by the country’s deeply unpopular President Roh Moo-hyun, and strengthen the hand of the Grand National Party, which backs a tougher line with North Korea.

“We are giving up on the Uri Party,” lawmaker Lee Jong-kul told reporters, saying the party had let down voters.

RUSSIA

Khodorkovsky faces more charges

MOSCOW — Russian prosecutors yesterday brought new charges against Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a move likely to bury the politically ambitious tycoon’s hopes of release from jail before 2008 presidential elections.

Mr. Khodorkovsky, the founder of the Yukos oil company and once one of Russia’s wealthiest and most powerful men, now will be tried on money-laundering charges, his attorney said. He is already serving an eight-year sentence for fraud and tax evasion.

BRITAIN

Letter explodes at collection office

LONDON — A letter bomb exploded yesterday at a London company that controls the city’s traffic congestion fee, fire officials said. One worker suffered minor injuries to her hand.

The letter exploded at the Capita Commercial Services, which on behalf of the government controls a $16 daily fee meant to cut down on vehicle traffic in central London. It also collects television licensing fees, handles mediation and insurance for the Criminal Records Bureau, and performs work for the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Work and Pensions.

The Irish Republican Army pioneered the use of letter bombs in the early 1970s as part of its campaign to oust Northern Ireland from the United Kingdom.

CAMEROON

63 dead, 20 missing after boat sinks

YAOUNDE — An overloaded wooden boat sank in high waves off Cameroon’s coast, killing at least 63 persons, a government official said yesterday. Fifteen passengers were thought to have survived, but at least 20 were missing and feared dead.

The boat, which was sailing along the coast to Nigeria, sank Saturday night near the Cameroonian village of Mabeta.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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