- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 6, 2010

NORTH KOREA

U.S. warned on war remains

SEOUL | North Korea accused the United States on Monday of ignoring its efforts to return remains of American soldiers who were killed in the Korean War in the 1950s and threatened to stop collecting and returning the bodies.

The North’s military said it informed the U.S. twice this year of “a number of” remains of U.S. troops found during land realignment and farming preparations in 10 different locations. But the U.S. Defense Department has not offered a concrete response and asked the North to wait, it said.

About 8,000 U.S. servicemen are listed as missing in the conflict. The U.S. and North Korea had previously been involved in a joint project to recover remains in the North, but the effort was halted in 2005 after Washington said security arrangements for its personnel were insufficient.

SOMALIA

Pirates hijack U.S.-bound tanker

NAIROBI, Kenya | A supertanker carrying about $160 million of crude oil from Iraq to the United States is believed to have been hijacked by Somali pirates, officials said Monday, the latest high-value bargaining chip for the sea bandits.

Similar seizures of oil supertankers in the waters off the coast of lawless Somalia have yielded ransoms as high as $5.5 million.

The South Korean-operated 300,000-ton Samho Dream is believed to have been seized Sunday when the South Korean navy received a call from the vessel saying three pirates had boarded it and then lost contact. At the time, it was about 930 miles southeast of the Gulf of Aden. It has 24 crew — five South Koreans and 19 Filipinos.

BRITAIN

National elections to be held May 6

LONDON | Prime Minister Gordon Brown will confirm Tuesday that Britain’s first national election in five years will take place May 6, an official with the ruling Labor Party said Monday.

Mr. Brown will travel to Buckingham Palace to ask Queen Elizabeth II for permission to dissolve Parliament and call the first national vote since 2005.

The election could end in Mr. Brown’s ouster three years after he succeeded Tony Blair as leader. The main opposition Conservative Party — which leads in opinion polls — hopes to win power for the first time in 13 years.

RUSSIA

Suicide bomber kills 2 in Ingushetia

KARABULAK | A suicide bomber killed two policemen in Russia’s Ingushetia region Monday, the latest in a spate of attacks that underscores the threat from an Islamist insurgency on Russia’s southern flank.

More than 50 people have been killed and 100 injured by suicide bombers over the past week in the Moscow metro and the mainly Muslim regions of Dagestan and Ingushetia, which flank Chechnya in Russia’s restive North Caucasus.

A male suicide bomber tried to enter police headquarters in the town of Karabulak, about 12 miles from the Ingush regional capital of Magas, police said.

SAUDI ARABIA

Cleric announces visit to Jerusalem

RIYADH | A Saudi cleric announced Monday on his television show that he will visit Jerusalem next week to bolster Muslim claims to the city.

If Sheik Mohammed al-Areefi goes ahead with his plan, it would be an unprecedented trip for a prominent Saudi. Jerusalem is the third holiest site in Islam, but most Muslim countries — including Saudi Arabia — observe a strict boycott of Israel and ban travel there.

Sheik al-Areefi told his viewers Sunday on the religious satellite channel Iqra that the next episode of his show would be about Muslim claims to Jerusalem and Palestine.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said Sheik al-Areefi could apply for a visa from the consulate in Amman. Sheik al-Areefi, who is currently visiting Jordan, is viewed as a comparative moderate among Saudi Arabia’s conservative clergy.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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