- The Washington Times - Friday, May 11, 2007

IRAQ

Suicide bombers kill 26 in Baghdad

BAGHDAD — Two suicide car bombers struck checkpoints at Baghdad bridges within minutes of each other yesterday, killing at least 26 persons and damaging the spans despite increased American efforts to target the insurgent networks planning deadly vehicle attacks.

The U.S. military announced earlier yesterday that it had conducted a series of raids against car bombing networks across the country, killing four suspected insurgents and detaining nine.

Officials say al Qaeda-linked Sunni insurgents were trying to provoke retaliatory violence from mainly Shi’ite militias that had agreed to lay low to avoid confrontations with Americans during a 12-week-old security crackdown.

SERBIA

Pro-democracy parties agree on coalition

BELGRADE — Serbia’s pro-democracy parties agreed yesterday to form a new power-sharing government, excluding ultranationalists who supported late President Slobodan Milosevic and threatened to turn the troubled Balkan nation away from the West.

The Radicals are staunchly anti-Western and backed Milosevic’s aggressive policies in the Balkans, and their own boss, Vojislav Seselj, is awaiting trial at the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands. The Radicals also oppose the Western-backed U.N. plan for the Serbian province of Kosovo, which envisages internationally supervised independence.

SYRIA

Referendum set to re-elect Assad

DAMASCUS — Syria’s Ba’athist-dominated parliament unanimously nominated President Bashar Assad yesterday for a second term and set May 27 as the date for a referendum that dissidents have condemned as undemocratic.

The referendum marks another step in a process that all but guarantees Mr. Assad’s hold on power for another seven years. A new parliament with no opposition was elected in a tightly controlled vote last month.

“The Council of the People approves the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party nomination of comrade in arms Bashar al-Assad for a second constitutional term and submits the decision to the citizens to vote on,” speaker Mahmoud al-Abrash told the chamber.

AFGHANISTAN

French aid worker released by Taliban

KABUL — A French aid worker kidnapped by the Taliban in April was freed yesterday, the militant group and Red Cross said.

Eric Damfreville — working for charity Terre d’Enfance — was kidnapped alongside his French colleague, Celine Cordelier, and three Afghans in southwestern Nimroz province on April 3. The Taliban released Miss Cordelier on April 28.

After taking the group captive, the Taliban demanded the withdrawal of all remaining French troops from Afghanistan. France pulled 200 French special forces out of Afghanistan late last year and still has about 1,000 troops stationed in the country.

SOUTH KOREA

Tycoon arrested in bar attack

SEOUL — A South Korean business tycoon was arrested yesterday for reputedly taking part in a revenge attack on bar workers after his son was hurt in a fight at a karaoke bar.

Hanwha Group Chairman and CEO Kim Seung-youn is suspected of kicking, punching and using a steel pipe to attack bar workers reportedly involved in a scuffle with his 22-year-old son on March 8.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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