- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 6, 2009

AFGHANISTAN

U.S. bomb runs kill dozens

KABUL | Bombing runs called in by U.S. forces killed dozens of civilians taking shelter from fighting between Taliban militants and Afghan and international troops, Afghan officials said Tuesday. The U.S. promised a joint investigation.

A provincial council member said he saw about 30 bodies, many of them women and children, after villagers brought them to a provincial capital.

Death toll estimates varied widely. Villagers estimated that 70 to more than 100 civilians may have died, local and regional officials said, but no government official could confirm such a toll.

Civilian deaths have caused increasing friction between the Afghan and U.S. governments.

GEORGIA

Soldiers surrender after standoff

TBILISI | Georgia said hundreds of rebellious soldiers surrendered Tuesday after a brief mutiny, but officials backed away from initial claims that Russia supported the uprising as part of a coup plot.

The Interior Ministry at first said it had uncovered a Russia-supported plan to overthrow President Mikhail Saakashvili’s government. But Georgian authorities later stepped back from both of those allegations, saying the mutiny was aimed mainly at disrupting NATO exercises and leaving out mention of Russian support.

Details of what officials described as a daylong standoff at a tank battalion headquarters near the capital were shrouded in uncertainty. It was reported after weeks of street protests by opposition forces pressing for Mr. Saakashvili to resign over Georgia’s disastrous war with Russia in August and allegations of misrule.

ZIMBABWE

15 activists returned to prison

HARARE | A judge revoked the bail of a prominent Zimbabwean rights activist and 14 other suspects Tuesday after prosecutors formally charged them in a terrorism case that has been widely denounced as a sham.

Activist Jestina Mukoko appeared stunned as she heard the ruling from the dock and stared at Harare Magistrate Catherine Chimanda as her supporters burst into tears. Ms. Mukoko and the others have said they were tortured during an earlier stint in prison.

The suspects had been free on bail for two months. Judge Chimanda said she was sending them back to prison because a formal indictment filed Monday accused Ms. Mukoko and the others of sabotage, terrorism and banditry. The charges stem from a purported plot to overthrow Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

MYANMAR

Junta rejects plea for Suu Kyi release

YANGON | Myanmar’s junta has rejected an appeal to free pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, whose most recent period of detention will expire May 27, her party spokesman said Tuesday.

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate has spent more than 13 of the past 19 years - including the past six - under house arrest in Yangon despite international pressure for her release.

National League for Democracy spokesman Nyan Win said the country’s military authorities summoned the assistant to Mrs. Suu Kyi’s attorney to the administrative capital of Naypyitaw on Friday and handed over a letter rejecting the appeal for her release.

SOUTH KOREA

Soldiers convicted of Iraq bribery

SEOUL | Three South Korean army personnel have been convicted of accepting or seeking bribes while serving as part of a U.S.-led alliance aimed at rebuilding Iraq, an official said Tuesday.

One of the three, a captain identified by his surname Park, was sentenced last month by a South Korean military court to three years in prison for taking $25,000 and a digital camera worth $800 from a local firm involved in construction projects in the northern city of Irbil in return for administrative favors, said an official at South Korea’s Defense Ministry.

Two others - a master sergeant and a major - received suspended jail terms for demanding bribes from other Iraqi firms.

TAIWAN

Ex-president faces more bribe charges

TAIPEI | Former Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian was indicted on new graft charges Tuesday as his high-profile corruption trial continued into its second month.

Prosecutorial spokesman Chen Yun-nan said the former leader and wife Wu Shu-chen took $8.8 million in bribes from 2002 to 2005 from a local banker, camouflaging the money as either political donations or funds to promote Taiwanese interests overseas.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide