- - Tuesday, April 26, 2011

CHINA

Foreign Ministry warns U.S. on human rights talks

BEIJING | China warned the United States on Tuesday not to overstep bounds in human rights talks this week that the State Department says will focus on an ongoing dissident crackdown that appears to be Beijing’s most severe in years.

China hopes the meeting will help deepen mutual understanding, but doesn’t want human rights used as a pretext to meddle in domestic affairs, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters at a briefing.

“We oppose any country that uses human rights to interfere in China’s internal affairs,” said Mr. Hong.

The two-day U.S.-China Human Rights Dialogue starts Wednesday in Beijing. The State Department said last week the talks would focus on the dissident crackdown, rule of law, freedom of religion and expression, and labor and minority rights.

China wants to talk about new human rights developments in both countries, as well as China-U.S. cooperation on human rights at the United Nations.

NIGERIA

Voters in final balloting after deadly riots

KANO | Nigerians voted in state governor elections Tuesday in the last of three landmark ballots this month, after presidential polls set off unrest thought to have killed hundreds last week.

Turnout appeared to be down in a number of areas, with reports of some electoral workers refusing to show up out of fear of further attacks and an estimated 74,000 people displaced from last week’s rioting.

Security was tight, with curfews and military patrols having largely restored calm in Africa’s most populous nation, but there were still reports of ballot-box snatching in a number of states.

SOMALIA

Bomb kills 8 on bus, but motive unclear

MOGADISHU | A bomb exploded in a minibus Tuesday, killing eight civilians and wounding 13 others in southwest Somalia, a local elder reported.

The vehicle was traveling between the districts of Elberde and Luq in a region that has seen clashes in recent months between Islamist insurgents and pro-government forces.

Responsibility for the attack has not been claimed, and its motive remains obscure.

Somalia’s al-Qaeda-affiliatedal-Shabab rebel group recently threatened to bomb public places such as shopping malls, government offices and places of worship over the four-day Easter weekend.

Al-Shabab controls large swaths of Somalia and has been engaged in a bruising insurgency against the internationally backed transitional government.

TAJIKISTAN

Muslim rebels threaten attacks on government forces

ALMATY | Islamist rebels in Tajikistan threatened Tuesday to renew attacks on government forces and called on Tajiks to rise up against President Imomali Rakhmon.

“It is time for the Muslims to stand up and throw off the chains of [Imomali Rakhmon] and his wretched inner circle,” a group calling itself the Mujahideen of Tajikistan said in an English-language statement.

The secular, mainly Muslim country of 7.5 million people borders Afghanistan in the north and is the poorest nation in the former Soviet Central Asia. Peace remains fragile after a brutal 1992-97 civil war.

Security forces this month tracked down and killed an Islamist warlord known as Mullah Abdullo and accused him of carrying out an attack on a column of troops in September.

INDIA

Two policemen killed in Kashmir attack

SRINAGAR | Suspected separatists fatally shot two police officers on a patrol in Indian Kashmir’s main city of Srinagar, police said Tuesday.

It was the second major strike this month in Srinagar, the main hub of Muslim militants fighting Indian rule in the disputed Himalayan region. The latest attack took place on Monday night outside a police station.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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