- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 13, 2010

MEXICO

Suspected kingpin of drug cartel caught

TIJUANA | Mexico has captured a kingpin accused of terrorizing his way to the top of a gang fighting for control of key U.S. drug routes — even ordering rivals dissolved in caustic soda. Tuesday’s arrest, announced by U.S. and Mexican officials, capped a series of victories in Mexico’s U.S.-backed war on narcotics.

Teodoro Garcia Simental, known as “El Teo,” was arrested before dawn at a home he owned in the city of La Paz on the Baja California Peninsula, said Mexican federal police commissioner Ramon Eduardo Pequeno.

Mexican authorities had been tracking him for more than six months, with the help of U.S. anti-drug officials, he said.

Garcia — one of Mexico’s most wanted drug traffickers — is the second kingpin to be taken down in less than a month by President Felipe Calderon’s government.

Mr. Pequeno said Garcia is responsible for the deaths of at least 300 people, including some whose beheaded bodies were dumped in Tijuana.

NIGERIA

Ill president breaks silence; protests follow

ABUJA | More than 1,000 Nigerians protested the long absence of their ill president Tuesday, challenging the troubled democracy even after hearing his voice for the first time in nearly two months.

President Umaru Yar’Adua left Nigeria on Nov. 23 to seek medical treatment in Saudi Arabia. He has long been troubled by a kidney ailment, and doctors have said he is now suffering from acute pericarditis, an inflammation of the sac surrounding the heart.

In a telephone interview with the BBC aired early Tuesday, Mr. Yar’Adua said his health was improving, but paused occasionally to cough.

While Nigerian law allows for a smooth transition of power from Mr. Yar’Adua to Vice President Goodluck Jonathan, the 58-year-old president left without following any of those procedures.

AFGHANISTAN

Koran protest deadly; drone hit kills 13

KABUL | Protesters claiming that international troops destroyed copies of the Koran clashed with Afghan and foreign security forces Tuesday, leaving six people dead, Afghan officials said.

Also in the south, 13 insurgents were killed by a missile that international forces fired from an unmanned drone, NATO said.

A protest of about 2,000 people in Helmand province’s Garmsir district turned violent as demonstrators fought with security forces, leaving six civilians dead, according to the top official in the province, Abdullah Barak. Provincial spokesman Daoud Ahmadi confirmed six dead but did not say if they were civilians.

NATO said only one person was killed during the protest — an insurgent sniper who purportedly shot at an Afghan official and was killed by NATO troops. A NATO spokesman denied that the foreign troops desecrated any copies of Islam’s holy book in Sunday’s operation with Afghan forces in Garmsir.

RWANDA

Panel: Army shot down president’s jet in ‘94

NAIROBI, Kenya | Rwandan Hutu soldiers shot down the Hutu president’s plane on the eve of the 1994 genocide, according to a government-commissioned inquiry that formally assigned blame for the crash that sparked the slaughter of more than 500,000 people.

The Rwandan panel also concluded that the Tutsi rebels fighting the president at the time could not have shot down his plane, citing witnesses who described what appeared to be missiles fired from inside or near a military barracks. Those rebels were led by the man who is now Rwanda’s current president.

President Juvenal Habyarimana had been returning to Rwanda after talks with the Tutsi rebels. Extremist Hutu politicians and military officers were opposed to a power-sharing deal, the panel said in its report made public late Monday.

After the April 6, 1994, crash, militants from the Hutu ethnic majority quickly set up roadblocks across the capital, Kigali, and began killing Tutsis and moderate Hutus the following day. More than 500,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were massacred in 100 days of frenzied killing.

CYPRUS

Powerful publisher assassinated

NICOSIA | The assassination of Cyprus’ most powerful publisher stirred fears of rising instability Tuesday as ethnic Greek and Turkish leaders made a new push to reunify the war-divided Mediterranean island.

Dias publishing group director Andy Hadjicostis, 41, was gunned down Monday night, hours after the Greek Cypriot president and the leader of the island’s breakaway Turkish region launched a new round of negotiations aimed at reuniting the country.

Police said the victim was shot twice — in the back and chest — as he stepped out of his car outside his home in central Nicosia. He died at the scene, a heavily policed upscale area of the Cypriot capital that includes several embassy compounds.

Mr. Hadjicostis was seen as a rising star in the island’s majority Greek Cypriot community, taking over a media stable founded by his father that includes the conservative daily Simerini, the private Sigma television station, a popular radio station and several magazines.

TAIWAN

President plans stopover in U.S.

TAIPEI | Taiwan’s president, Ma Ying-jeou, is set to stop over in the United States during a visit to Honduras this month, local media reported, triggering an angry response from China.

The report came just days after the United States unveiled plans to sell missile equipment to the island, which China considers part of its territory, and amid a brewing U.S.-Taiwan dispute over beef imports.

China, which on Tuesday said it had successfully tested a missile interceptor system, reacted to the report by warning the United States against having any official contact with Mr. Ma during the stopover.

Mr. Ma will leave Taiwan on Jan. 25 for the inauguration of Honduran President-elect Porfirio Lobo Sosa two days later, with a transit stop in San Francisco, said the state-funded Central News Agency. He will make another stopover in Los Angeles before returning home on Jan. 30. He is expected to meet with members of the U.S. Congress.

CHINA

Female abortions leave 24 million gap

BEIJING | Abortions of girl fetuses are expected to leave China with 24 million more men than women over the next decade, according to a study that warns the imbalance will dash many young men’s chance at marriage and lead to increased crime.

China enforces strict family planning controls, including limiting most couples to having one child. Because of a traditional preference for male heirs, many families terminate pregnancies of girl babies in order to be able to continue trying for a boy. Infanticide of baby girls has also become a problem.

The study by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, reported in Chinese state media this week, specifically said such preferences were behind the ballooning imbalance.

RUSSIA

Arms control talks to resume this month

MOSCOW | Moscow will restart talks with Washington on a new arms control treaty this month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday.

“We hope it will happen somewhere in the second half of January,” Mr. Lavrov said in televised remarks.

The new deal will succeed the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START, which expired on Dec. 5. The two countries had hoped to reach a deal before the end of the year, but problems persist.

INDIA

Russia to lease nuclear submarine

NEW DELHI | Russia will lease to India in 2010 its new Nerpa nuclear-powered submarine, Russian defense officials and Indian naval officers said Tuesday.

The Russian military had previously denied media reports the Nerpa, in which 20 people died during testing in the Sea of Japan in November 2008, was to go to India.

India in July unveiled its first nuclear-powered submarine capable of firing ballistic missiles. However, the Arihant, the first of two similar Indian submarines that are to be built with technical help from Russia, will not be operationally active before 2015, defense officials said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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