- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 29, 2008

ZIMBABWE

Power-sharing talks shelved for now

JOHANNESBURG | Power-sharing talks between Zimbabwe’s opposition and negotiators for President Robert Mugabe broke off Monday and the longtime leader’s representatives flew home, two officials close to the talks said.

One of them, in Zimbabwe, said the two negotiators - Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Social Welfare Minister Nicholas Goche - might be going home to consult Mr. Mugabe about their mandate. He said it was not clear whether the talks were in recess or had broken down.

A third official in Zimbabwe said opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai left Zimbabwe on Monday and was driving to the South African capital, Pretoria, to consult with his negotiators.

The talks between Zimbabwe’s ruling and opposition parties began Thursday. Mr. Tsvangirai won the most votes in March elections but pulled out of a June runoff because of the months of escalating state-sponsored violence. Mr. Mugabe ran alone and declared himself winner.

INDIA

American’s computer linked to bombings

AHMEDABAD | Police raided the home of an American citizen in Bombay, India’s financial capital, and seized a computer from which an e-mail taking responsibility for bombings that killed 45 people in western India was believed to have been sent, officials said Monday.

The 48-year-old American has not been detained and is not currently a suspect, police said.

Anti-terrorism police also arrested an underworld figure in Ahmedabad with apparent ties to a banned Muslim group and were determining whether he had any connection to the weekend attack in the city, police said.

At least 16 bombs tore through Ahmedabad around dusk Saturday, killing 45 people and wounding 161 others. It was the second series of blasts in India in two days.

INDONESIA

Arrests reveal plot to kill U.S. teacher

JAKARTA | Ten suspected militants arrested this month planned to assassinate an American teacher in Indonesia and avenge the upcoming executions of the Bali nightclub bombers by attacking the Supreme Court, a top anti-terrorism official said.

The official identified the teacher only by his first name, Samuel, and said he worked in the small town of Sekayu on Sumatra island. The U.S. Embassy in Indonesia declined comment.

The 10 militants were arrested in early July in a series of raids on Sumatra, including in Sekayu town.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, Indonesia has been hit by a string of suicide bombings blamed on members and associates of the regional terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah, including the 2002 nightclub bombings on Bali island that killed 202 people, many of them foreign tourists.

INDIA

4 dead as troops clash in Kashmir

SRINAGAR | India said Monday that Pakistani troops crossed into its part of the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir and opened fire. Indian troops returned fire, and at least four soldiers were killed.

Indian army spokesman Brig. Gopala Krishnan Murali called the attack a “brazen violation of cease-fire.”

One Indian soldier died and “three or four” Pakistani soldiers were killed in “retaliatory fire” in the Kupwara area of the region, he said. There was no immediate comment from Pakistani officials.

UNITED NATIONS

Assembly confirms human rights chief

UNITED NATIONS | The U.N. General Assembly on Monday unanimously confirmed South African Judge Navanethem Pillay as the world body’s new human rights chief, and activist groups urged her to be tough in her new post.

Ms. Pillay, who will succeed outspoken Canadian Louise Arbour, is a judge at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. She takes office on Sept. 1.

U.N. diplomats and officials said the United States had initially resisted the idea of appointing her due to concerns about her views on abortion and other issues but eventually agreed to drop its opposition.

U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad congratulated Judge Pillay on her new job last week but acknowledged that Washington had had some concerns about her based on allegations about her past.

GERMANY

Merkel’s party becomes biggest

BERLIN | Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union is bigger than its rival Social Democratic Party for the first time in German postwar history, the party announced Monday.

The CDU now has 530,755 members to the SPD’s 529,994, General Secretary Ronald Pofalla told reporters in Berlin, putting the party in a strong position for a general election expected in 2009.

The two parties that currently govern in an uneasy “Grand Coalition” in Berlin, however, have lost members over the past two decades, the figures reveal. The CDU reached its zenith in 1983, when it had 735,000 registered members. The SPD reached a record of 1.02 million in 1976.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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