- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 12, 2007

PAKISTAN

Suicide bomb kills 17 near border

PESHAWAR — A suicide bomber killed 17 persons in northwest Pakistan as police tried to arrest him yesterday, the latest attack in a wave of violence that is piling pressure on President Pervez Musharraf.

The attacker blew himself up inside a minibus in Dera Ismail Khan, a remote town close to Pakistan’s troubled tribal areas near the Afghan border.

Meanwhile, attorneys for former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif went to the country’s highest court yesterday to challenge his deportation. Gen. Musharraf sent Mr. Sharif, the prime minister he ousted in a 1999 coup, back into exile Monday.

RUSSIA

Military claims ’dad of all bombs’

MOSCOW — The Russian military has successfully tested what it described as the world’s most powerful non-nuclear air-delivered bomb, Russia’s state television reported yesterday.

Channel One television said the new weapon, nicknamed the “dad of all bombs” is four times more powerful than the U.S. “mother of all bombs.” The U.S. Massive Ordnance Air Blast is a large-yield satellite-guided, air-delivered bomb described as the most powerful non-nuclear weapon in history.

PHILIPPINES

Ex-leader Estrada jailed for life

MANILA — Former Philippine movie star and deposed President Joseph Estrada was found guilty today of massive corruption and ordered to spend the rest of his life in prison.

Winding up a trial that Estrada insisted was politically motivated, a special anti-corruption court ruled that he was guilty of plundering tens of millions of dollars in tax kickbacks and bribes.

The case against Estrada, 70, has marked a bitter chapter in Philippine politics that began when the one-time action hero was ousted from power in 2001, a move that led to violent protests in the streets.

His attorney said the former president will appeal his conviction.

ETHIOPIA

Millennium pardon for 18,000 prisoners

ADDIS ABABA — Ethiopia’s president pardoned nearly 18,000 prisoners in a gesture coinciding with the country’s third millennium celebrations, the official Ethiopian news agency reported today.

Girma Woldegiorgis pardoned 17,765 prisoners who requested clemency, the news agency announced as Ethiopia — which follows a unique version of the Julian calendar — marked the year 2000 seven years after the rest of the world.

“Those pardoned include individuals who were convicted and were serving prison terms of up to 20 years for crimes such as rape, murder, armed robbery and other criminal offenses,” the news agency said. Prime Minister Meles Zenawi — whose administration has been marred by conflict, poverty and political unrest — has been keen to convey a message of hope to Ethiopia’s 81 million population on the new millennium.

CHINA

Bishop dies in police custody

BEIJING — A bishop who led an underground congregation of Roman Catholics and was repeatedly detained in China for his loyalty to the Vatican has died in police custody, two monitoring groups said yesterday.

Bishop Han Dingxiang, 71, was cremated within six hours of his death Sunday and buried in a public cemetery with no priests or other faithful present, the U.S.-based Cardinal Kung Foundation said. AsiaNews, the Vatican-affiliated missionary news agency, said Bishop Han suffered from lung cancer. From wire dispatches and staff reports

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