- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 7, 2007

MEXICO

Local police patrol, guns confiscated

TIJUANA — Local police patrolled without their guns in Mexico’s tough border city of Tijuana yesterday after soldiers disarmed them to check if the weapons had been used in drug-gang crimes.

In the latest stage of a national crackdown on drug-related violence, more than 4,000 soldiers, sailors, federal and state police last week poured into Tijuana, where some members of the poorly paid municipal police force are suspected of helping drug hit men in a war between rival gangs.

The army confiscated the local police’s handguns and rifles to run ballistics tests. Many of the 2,300 municipal cops briefly stayed away from work, but most were back on the streets by yesterday, minus their weapons.

SRI LANKA

Bus bomb kills 15; Tamil rebels blamed

COLOMBO — A bomb on a Sri Lankan passenger bus killed at least 15 persons and wounded dozens more yesterday, officials said, blaming Tamil Tiger rebels for the country’s second bus bombing in as many days.

The blast, which police suspect was triggered by a female suicide bomber, appeared to signal an escalation of the bloody ethnic conflict ravaging the island nation off southern India.

Police blamed Tamil Tiger rebels for the bus attack in the coastal town of Meetiyagoda, 60 miles south of the capital, Colombo, and near a number of popular resort towns.

Though violence has risen sharply in Sri Lanka over the past year, most of it has occurred in the ethnic-Tamil-dominated north and east, where the rebels run their own de facto state.

SOMALIA

Government delays plans to disarm city

MOGADISHU, Somalia — Somalia’s interim government yesterday indefinitely postponed plans to forcibly disarm Mogadishu as hundreds of people burned tires, looted vehicles and said they wouldn’t give up their guns. Two persons were reported killed and at least 17 persons wounded.

The protest occurred a day after al Qaeda’s deputy leader called on Muslim militants to attack Ethiopian troops, who helped government forces chase Somalia’s Islamic militia from the capital last week. Some Islamic fighters hiding in Mogadishu said they would heed the call.

About 400 protesters gathered at Tribunka Square in a southern neighborhood, shouting, “Down, down with Ethiopia,” and demanding an end to the disarmament plan.

The Islamic Courts Union had brought a semblance of stability to Mogadishu after seizing control six months ago, but it terrified residents with a version of Islamic law that included public executions and floggings of criminals.

AUSTRALIA

‘Croc Hunter’ Irwin’s final program finished

BRISBANE — “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin’s final program is complete, but the show about the sea’s deadliest creatures will not include footage from the day he was killed by a stingray, his manager said yesterday.

Mr. Irwin died Sept. 4, minutes after a poisonous barb from a stingray’s tail pierced his chest while he was snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef in northern Australia shooting footage for two projects, including one titled “Ocean’s Deadliest.”

Mr. Irwin’s final moments were caught on videotape and were used in a police investigation and coroner’s examination of the death. The original tape was returned to his widow, Terri, and all copies were destroyed, Queensland state Coroner Michael Barnes said last week.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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