- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 17, 2010

UKRAINE

Law to bar bid to join NATO

KIEV | Ukraine’s new governing coalition in parliament said Tuesday it will pass a law against joining military alliances such as NATO, a move that is sure to please Russia while tilting Ukraine away from its previous pro-Western course.

In a statement of purpose published Tuesday in parliament’s official newspaper, the coalition supporting President Viktor Yanukovych said new legislation will “enshrine Ukraine’s nonaligned status in law.”

Such a move would kill one of the key initiatives of Mr. Yanukovych’s predecessor, the staunchly pro-Western Viktor Yushchenko, who had struggled to gain admission to NATO since he was vaulted to power by the Orange Revolution protests of 2004.

Although Mr. Yushchenko’s NATO ambitions never gained broad public support, they managed to infuriate Russia.

PAKISTAN

Suspected U.S. missile attack kills 9

MIR ALI | An apparent U.S. missile attack destroyed a suspected militant compound in a tribal region of northwestern Pakistan on Tuesday, killing at least nine people, intelligence officials said.

It was not immediately clear who was targeted in the strike in the Datta Khel region of North Waziristan. The area is the home of Hafiz Gul Bahadur, a powerful warlord whose fighters are battling U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

PAKISTAN

Kidnappers free British boy

JHELUM | Kidnappers released a 5-year-old British boy unharmed Tuesday almost two weeks after abducting him from his grandparents’ house in central Pakistan, British and Pakistani officials said.

A senior provincial official said a ransom was paid for the freedom of Sahil Saeed, who is of Pakistani origin, but he did not identify who abducted the boy and received the money.

The boy was found in a small village in Punjab province, some 20 miles southeast of Jhelum city where armed robbers seized him on March 4, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said.

SRI LANKA

Opposition leader faces court-martial

COLOMBO | Former Sri Lankan army chief Sarath Fonseka appeared before a military court Tuesday on charges of engaging in politics while in uniform, officials said, as hundreds of his supporters protested near the capital.

The court-martial held at the navy headquarters in Colombo was adjourned until next month after lawyers for the army commander challenged the legitimacy of the court and opposed the choice of the members of the military tribunal.

Mr. Fonseka, who lost a presidential election to incumbent Mahinda Rajapaksa earlier this year, was arrested last month following allegations that he was plotting a coup against the government.

ITALY

World’s shortest man dies

ROME | The world’s shortest man has died in Italy, where he was to take part in a TV show, the program’s production company said Tuesday.

He Pingping, of China, who was 2 feet, 5.37 inches tall, had become a recognized figure across the world, often taking part in shows, photo shoots and other events, Guinness World Records said.

Mr. He died Saturday in Rome, according to the TV production company Europroduzione. Guinness World Records said in a press release Mr. He was born in 1988 with a form of primordial dwarfism. He was officially measured in March 2008.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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