- - Sunday, April 24, 2011

CHINA

Jimmy Carter, other ex-leaders to visit N. Korea

BEIJING | Former President Jimmy Carter and three other former leaders arrived in Beijing on Sunday en route to North Korea to discuss the revival of nuclear disarmament talks.

Mr. Carter and the group of veteran statesmen known as the Elders are to travel to Pyongyang on Tuesday as part of international efforts to restart the negotiations on ending North Korea’s nuclear program.

The group, which includes former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Brundtland and former Irish President Mary Robinson, said it also plans to discuss North Korea’s chronic food shortages.

International disarmament talks with North Korea have been stalled for the past two years amid growing concerns over its nuclear programs.

Mr. Carter, a Democrat from Georgia who was president from 1977 to 1981, is well regarded in North Korea despite its longtime animosity with the U.S. He has visited several times in a private capacity, most recently in August to secure the release of an imprisoned American.

Mr. Carter told reporters earlier this month that he would “try to induce the North Koreans to give up their nuclear weapons” and help the country work out a peace treaty with South Korea and the United States. No peace treaty was ever signed after the 1950-53 Korean War.

ISRAEL

Israeli killed, 4 wounded in West Bank

JERUSALEM | A Palestinian policeman opened fire Sunday at a group of Israelis who had come to pray at a Jewish holy site in the West Bank without authorization, killing one and wounding four, the Israeli military said.

The shooting threatened to inflame tensions in the West Bank, where Jewish settlers and Palestinians live in uneasy proximity and where settlers have responded to attacks in the past with violent reprisals.

Israeli police identified the dead man as Ben-Yosef Livnat, a Jerusalem resident in his mid-20s. Ben-Yosef was a nephew of Limor Livnat, a prominent hard-line Cabinet minister from the ruling Likud Party.

Ben-Yosef Livnat and several companions entered the Palestinian city of Nablus early Sunday to visit a site known as Joseph’s Tomb.

Jewish worshippers regularly enter the city with a special military escort to pray at the small building traditionally identified as the gravesite of the biblical Joseph, located inside a Palestinian-ruled area. Those visits are coordinated with Palestinian security forces.

Israeli and Palestinian officials said Sunday’s visit was not cleared with either side.

SUDAN

115 dead in 5 days of clashes in south

JUBA | At least 115 people have died in violence between government forces and a rebel militia in Southern Sudan last week, an official said Sunday, raising concerns of southern instability ahead of the region’s independence declaration in July.

Brig. Malaak Ayuen, the head of Southern Sudan’s Army Information Department, said fighting on Saturday between a group of rebels led by Maj. Gen. Gabriel Tanginye in Jonglei state and southern government forces led to 57 people being killed and scores being injured.

Gen. Ayuen said that five days of fighting between government forces and those loyal to another rebel chief, Peter Gatdet, in Unity state which is northwest of Jonglei, led to the deaths of 48 people. He did not give a breakdown of the number of civilians, rebels and soldiers killed in both incidents.

The fresh clashes between Gen. Tanginye’s forces and the army erupted on Saturday morning in Kaldak village north of Jonglei state, where his forces have been assembled for reintegration into the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, poised to become Southern Sudan’s regular force in July.

ARMENIA

Armenians mourn victims of mass killings by Turks

YEREVAN | Hundreds of thousands of Armenians laid flowers Sunday at a monument to the victims of mass killings by Ottoman Turks, creating mounds of blossoms that rose higher throughout the day.

This year’s 96th anniversary of the start of the slaughter has added poignancy because it coincides with Easter and the Christian celebration of rebirth.

Historians estimate that up to 1.5 million Armenians were killed by Ottoman Turks around the time of World War I. Turkey denies that the deaths constituted genocide, contending the figures are inflated and those killed were victims of civil war and unrest as the Ottoman Empire collapsed.

President Serge Sarkisian said in a national address that Armenia now strives for peace with Turkey. But while praising Turkish intellectuals and others who have spoken out for reconciliation, he had stern words for the Turkish government.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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