- The Washington Times - Monday, February 25, 2008

IRAQ

Suicide bomb kills 40 on pilgrimage

HILLA — A suicide bomber detonated a vest packed with metal ball bearings in a tent full of pilgrims heading to a Shi’ite festival yesterday, killing at least 40 persons and wounding 60, police said.

Women and children were among the victims of the attack in the town of Iskandariyah, 25 miles south of Baghdad, police said. It was one of the deadliest attacks in Iraq this year.

Most of the victims were hit by the ball bearings, said a doctor at a hospital in Hilla, where many were taken.

IRAN

New centrifuges said to speed work

TEHRAN — The government said yesterday that it has started using new centrifuges that can churn out enriched uranium at more than double the rate of the machines that Iran has been using.

It was the first official confirmation by Tehran after diplomats with the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog reported this month that Iran was using 10 new IR-2 centrifuges.

“We are [now] running a new generation of centrifuges,” the Islamic Republic News Agency quoted the deputy of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council as saying.

SERBIA

U.S. ambassador expresses outrage

BELGRADE — The U.S. ambassador to Serbia expressed outrage yesterday at rioters who set fire to the American Embassy in Belgrade and demanded that Serbian leaders prevent any more violence against diplomatic missions.

Ambassador Cameron Munter also criticized Serbian political leaders who have defended the riots as a “legitimate” form of protest over Kosovo’s independence declaration.

“That kind of incendiary language … is leading further to the diplomatic isolation of Serbia, which is in nobody’s interest,” Mr. Munter told the Associated Press.

CHINA

Court sentences 17 for deadly mine blast

BEIJING — A Chinese court has sentenced three persons to life in prison and handed jail terms to 14 others for their roles in a coal mine explosion that killed 105 miners late last year, Xinhua news agency reported today.

Those sentenced to life included the manager in charge of production at the Xinyao Coal Mine and an investor in the mine in the northern province of Shanxi, where a gas blast tore through the shaft on Dec. 5.

At the time of the explosion, 128 miners were working, far more than the maximum 60 allowed.

PAKISTAN

YouTube blocked due to cartoons

ISLAMABAD — The government ordered local Internet service providers to block access to the YouTube Web site because of cartoons of the prophet Mohammad, an industry official said yesterday.

The cartoons, published in Danish newspapers in 2005 and again earlier this month, angered Muslims because of their depiction of the prophet Mohammad.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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