- - Wednesday, April 27, 2011

INDIA

Tibetan exile community elects new political leader

DHARMSALA | A Harvard legal scholar has been elected the next prime minister of Tibet’s government in exile, officials announced Wednesday, paving the way for new leadership in the Tibetan community as the Dalai Lama gives up political power.

Lobsang Sangay, 43, won with 55 percent of the votes cast by tens of thousands of Tibetans around the world, chief election Commissioner Jamphel Choesang said in the northern Indian town of Dharmsala, where the exile government is based.

“I view my election as an affirmation of the far-sighted policies of His Holiness the Dalai Lama,” Mr. Sangay said in a statement on the exile government’s website.

Mr. Sangay, a lawyer and scholar who has spent years studying international law and conflict resolution, called on people to “join me in our common cause to alleviate the suffering of Tibetans in occupied Tibet.”

GAZA STRIP

Palestinian officials say unity agreement reached

GAZA CITY | Palestinian officials from the rival Fatah and Hamas movements say they have reached an initial agreement on ending a 4-year-old rift that has left them divided between rival governments in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

The officials said the plan calls for the formation of a single caretaker government in the coming days, and preparations to hold presidential and legislative elections a year from now.

The officials said the agreement was reached through Egyptian mediation. They spoke on the condition of anonymity before a formal announcement in Cairo later Wednesday.

Despite the agreement, key questions remain about who will control the rival security forces.

Disagreements over security control erupted into the June 2007 civil war that ended with Hamas seizing control of Gaza.

AFGHANISTAN

Afghan officer fires on NATO troops, kills 9

KABUL | Eight NATO troops and a U.S. contractor died Wednesday after an Afghan military pilot opened fire in a meeting - the deadliest episode to date of an Afghan turning against his own coalition partners, officials said.

The Afghan officer, who was a veteran military pilot, fired on the foreigners after an argument. The shooting occurred in an operations room of the Afghan Air Corps at the Kabul airport.

The nationalities of the eight NATO service members have not been released.

Five Afghan soldiers were wounded. At least one Afghan soldier was shot - in the wrist - but most of the soldiers suffered broken bones and cuts.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said those killed were trainers and advisers for the Afghan air force. He ordered his defense and security officials to investigate.

FRANCE

Court backs police in case tied to riots

PARIS | A Paris appeals court sided with two police officers Wednesday, dropping a “failure to help” case against them for two teens whose deaths in 2005 led to weeks of rioting across France.

The two boys, 15-year-old Bouna Traore and 17-year-old Zyed Benna, were electrocuted while hiding from police in a power substation in the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois on Oct. 27, 2005. A third teenager suffered serious burns.

Local youths blamed the police for the deaths and exploded in anger, setting cars ablaze and smashing store windows. That tapped a well of frustration nationwide among largely minority youths in poor housing projects, and fiery riots raged across the country for three weeks.

Tensions between French police and youths in poor neighborhoods still simmer and occasionally erupt into violence.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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