- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 20, 2010

NIGERIA

Muslim-Christian clashes claim 150

JOS | More than 150 Nigerians have been killed and dozens injured in three days of clashes between Muslim and Christian gangs in the central city of Jos, where police imposed a 24-hour curfew, residents said.

The governor of Plateau state on Tuesday sent extra security forces to the state capital to prevent a repetition of clashes in November 2008, when hundreds of residents were killed in the country’s worst sectarian fighting in years.

Official police figures were significantly lower with 20 people dead, 40 injured and 168 arrested since Sunday. This week’s violence erupted after an argument between Muslim and Christian neighbors over the rebuilding of homes destroyed in the 2008 clashes.

AFGHANISTAN

2 U.S. troops killed by bomb

KABUL | Two U.S. service members were killed by a roadside bomb in southern Afghanistan Tuesday, a day after a brazen Taliban attack on the capital showed militants are stepping up their fight against the U.S. and its allies.

The southern Taliban heartland has seen intense fighting and is expected to be the destination for most of the 30,000 U.S. reinforcements being sent by President Obama. A NATO statement gave no other details about the latest U.S. deaths.

VATICAN CITY

Islamic fundamentalism topic at synod

VATICAN CITY | A Vatican meeting of Roman Catholic bishops from the Middle East next October will discuss Islamic fundamentalism and attacks on Christians in the region, a preparatory document said.

The issue appeared several times in the responses by bishops to Vatican questions in preparation for the Oct. 10-24 synod of prelates from the region who will hold discussions with Pope Benedict XVI and Vatican officials.

In part of a 30-page preparatory document issued by the Vatican Tuesday, bishops said the growth of the Internet had helped the spread of radical groups.

PAKISTAN

Suspected U.S. drone kills 5 in Waziristan

PESHAWAR | A suspected U.S. drone attack in Pakistan’s volatile tribal area killed five people Tuesday, as part of an unprecedented wave of strikes since a deadly attack against the CIA across the border in Afghanistan, said intelligence officials.

The two missiles slammed into a compound and a nearby vehicle in the Deegan area of North Waziristan, a zone dominated by the Haqqani network, an al Qaeda-linked Afghan Taliban faction that many suspect helped orchestrate the Dec. 30 suicide bombing that killed seven CIA employees at a remote base in Khost province.

Tuesday’s strike was the 12th since the CIA attack, an average of one about every day and a half.

GUINEA

Military appoints civilian prime minister

CONAKRY | Guinea’s military junta appointed a veteran opposition leader Tuesday as the country’s new prime minister, a crucial step that sets the stage for the military to cede power to civilians in elections within the next six months.

Jean-Marie Dore is an outspoken critic of junta leader Capt. Moussa “Dadis” Camara and was brutally beaten by his soldiers when he helped lead a demonstration calling for an end to military rule.

The appointment came as Gen. Sekouba Konate, who persuaded Capt. Camara to step aside and accept a transition to civilian rule, returned to Conakry amid extremely tight security. The general, who is the No. 2 in the West African country’s junta, had spent the past six days in Burkina Faso negotiating the departure of Guinea’s military strongman.

KOREAS

Talks on industrial complex ‘serious’

SEOUL | North and South Korea discussed development of their joint industrial complex Tuesday, despite Pyongyang’s recent threats it might break off all dialogue with its neighbor and could even stage an attack.

The two sides met for nearly four hours in the North’s border city of Kaesong to assess their joint tour of industrial parks in China and Vietnam undertaken in December, according to Seoul’s Unification Ministry.

Unification Ministry spokesman Chun Hae-sung described the talks as taking place “in a serious and practical atmosphere.”

SLOVAKIA

3 Gitmo detainees to be accepted

BRATISLAVA | Slovakia will accept three detainees from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba this year, the foreign ministry said Tuesday.

When President Obama came into office last year, he ordered a review of all detainees at the controversial prison to determine who could be freed and who would be referred for prosecution in criminal or military courts.

BRITAIN

Kraft, Cadbury agree on $19.5 billion deal

LONDON | After months of fierce resistance, Cadbury’s about-face to accept a sweetened $19.5 billion takeover from Kraft Foods Inc. — forming the world’s biggest candy company — has alarmed British unions, lawmakers and chocolate lovers.

With Cadbury shareholders expected to agree to the deal and a rival bid from the Hershey Co. looking less likely, opponents fear the U.S. multinational’s impact on one of Britain’s oldest and best-loved brands.

BRITAIN

Love Story author Erich Segal dies at 72

LONDON | Erich Segal, the author of the hugely popular novel “Love Story,” has died of a heart attack, his daughter said Tuesday. He was 72.

Francesca Segal said her father died Sunday at his home in London. She said he had suffered from Parkinson’s Disease for 25 years. His funeral was held in London on Tuesday, she said.

Segal was a Yale classics professor when he gained nationwide fame for the book “Love Story” about a young couple who fall in love, marry and discover she is dying of cancer. The book was turned into a hit film in 1970, starring Ryan O’Neal and Ali MacGraw.

NORWAY

Russian rights group proposed for Nobel

OSLO | A Norwegian member of parliament said Tuesday she intended to nominate Russian human rights organization Memorial and its founding member Svetlana Gannushkina for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize.

The nomination, by lawmaker Erna Solberg, could pose a dilemma to Norwegian Nobel Committee Chairman Thorbjoern Jagland, noted Norwegian daily Verdens Gang, as Mr. Jagland is also secretary general of the Council of Europe in which Russia plays an important role.

Ms. Solberg is the head of Norway’s Conservative Party, one of the main opposition parties to the Labor Party in power, which Mr. Jagland used to lead.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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