- - Monday, October 11, 2010

AFGHANISTAN

NATO to probe death during rescue attempt

KABUL | NATO will investigate whether a grenade thrown by U.S. military forces killed a British aid worker during a rescue attempt in Afghanistan last week, an alliance spokesman said Monday.

Linda Norgrove, 36, was killed Friday in the raid by U.S. forces in Afghanistan’s eastern Kunar province, after she and three colleagues were kidnapped two weeks earlier. NATO initially said Ms. Norgrove died when captors detonated a bomb as NATO forces attempted to free her.

However, British Prime Minister David Cameron said Monday that Ms. Norgrove was possibly killed by a grenade lobbed by a member of the U.S. special forces rescue team.

A spokesman at NATO headquarters in Kabul said the rescue mission leader saw surveillance footage of the raid, talked with members of the rescue team and decided “it was not conclusive what the cause of her death was.”

CHINA

Top Chinese leader praises North Korea

BEIJING | Close ally China on Monday invited Kim Jong-il and North Korea’s new leadership to visit the country, state media reported, in apparent approval for his reclusive regime’s planned succession.

The invitation was made in a meeting in Pyongyang between Zhou Yongkang, the ruling Communist Party’s ninth-ranking leader, and the North’s supreme leader Kim Jong-il, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

IRAN

Hard-liners target top private university

TEHRAN | Iran’s leader issued a decree Monday paving the way for a hard-line takeover of the country’s largest private university, a crushing blow to the nation’s moderates.

The Islamic Azad University is the center of power for former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, noted pragmatist and a key supporter of Iran’s moderates. The institution, which was founded in 1982, was a major site for opposition protests against the 2009 disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which opponents say was fraudulent.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s decree declared the university’s endowment, which keeps it financially independent, to be religiously illegitimate and therefore null and void.

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