Rebels celebrate grim anniversary
COLOMBO — Tamil Tiger rebels watched plays, listened to speeches and even opened a children's park this week — all to celebrate 20 years of suicide bombings in their struggle for an independent homeland.
Small celebrations were organized in many rebel-held northern parts of Sri Lanka, with music and other entertainment honoring the hundreds who have carried out the attacks, rebel spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan said.
The children's park was opened in Kilinochchi town in memory of the suicide bombers, called Black Tigers. Portraits of the bombers were placed in small cottages for people to honor with garlands and other signs of respect.
Party leader to quit politics
DHAKA — The detained general secretary of Bangladesh's biggest party has decided to quit politics for health reasons, his wife announced this week.
She said Abdul Jalil, currently awaiting trial on charges of corruption and abuse of power, was sick and unable to perform his duties as second-in-command of the Awami League, led by beleaguered former Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed.
Aides did not comment immediately on the retirement.
Students threaten to spoil royal do
KATMANDU — Left-wing student groups in Nepal said yesterday they were determined to spoil embattled King Gyanendra's plans for a public celebration of his 60th birthday this weekend.
The king, who was forced to give up power after a peace deal brought fiercely republican Maoists into government earlier this year, is planning to grant audiences and hold parties at his pink palace today and tomorrow.
Around 400 students blocked traffic in Katmandu's center yesterday afternoon and held a noisy rally calling for people not to attend the celebrations. The king is under pressure to abdicate formally before planned parliamentary elections in November.
President pledges free, fair elections
ASTANA — President Nursultan Nazarbayev vowed this week to hold free and fair parliamentary elections in this oil-rich Central Asian state next month.
Mr. Nazarbayev was approved as the official leader of the ruling Nur Otan party after a change in the constitution earlier this year allowed heads of state to lead political groups.
The parliament is dominated by Nur Otan and has just one opposition deputy. The president, who has ruled Kazakhstan since independence in 1991, said he was sure his party would win the elections.
From wire dispatches and staff reports