- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 11, 2011

AFGHANISTAN

Five U.S. soldiers killed in bomb blast

KABUL | Five American soldiers were killed by a bomb in Afghanistan on Thursday.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force said only that those killed in the blast in southern Afghanistan were the latest victims of the Taliban insurgency’s increasing use of crude, homemade bombs.

A Pentagon spokesman in Washington confirmed that all five dead were American troops.

The deaths come a week after the Taliban shot down a U.S. Chinook helicopter, killing 38 people, including 30 Americans, in the biggest loss of U.S. life in a single incident since the 2001 invasion.

ESTONIA

Police kill gunman who stormed Defense Ministry

TALLINN | Police killed a gunman armed with explosives after he entered the Defense Ministry and opened fire, officials said. No one else was hurt.

Many employees were seen escaping from first-floor windows as the gunman detonated a smoke bomb and fired shots in the central Tallinn building.

Defense Minister Mart Laar said authorities should investigate whether the assailant had been partially motivated by the terrorist who carried out last month’s massacre in Norway that killed 77 people.

GERMANY

No jail for ailing Nazi war criminal

BERLIN | Josef Scheungraber, a Nazi commander sentenced to life in prison in 2009 for killing 10 Italians in 1944, will not have to go to jail because of his deteriorating mental health, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Scheungraber was found guilty of ordering the murder of the civilians in Falzano di Cortona near Tuscan Arezzo and attempting to kill another as a reprisal for attacks by Italian partisans after an 11-month trial by a Munich court.

The 93-year-old man had been allowed to remain free after his sentencing as his lawyer worked though appeals. When he lost his appeal against his conviction in 2010, his lawyer launched a new appeal that he was too ill to go to jail.

Gunter Widmaier, his lawyer, said the prosecutor’s office has now agreed to refrain from sending Scheungraber to jail because of his fading mental capacities.

MEXICO

Former police chief killed near border town

MEXICO CITY | A former police chief for the northern Mexican city of Chihuahua and the border city of Juarez has been fatally shot, authorities said Thursday.

Chihuahua state prosecutors spokesman Carlos Gonzalez said the motive in the killing of Jose Ruvalcaba Plascencia is still under investigation.

Mr. Gonzalez said he knew of no threats against the former official, but noted that Mr. Ruvalcaba had operated a private security company after leaving government service.

Mr. Gonzalez said that Mr. Ruvalcaba was fatally shot at a restaurant in the Chihuahua state capital on Wednesday.

Mr. Ruvalcaba served as head of Chihuahua City police in the 1990s and briefly as Juarez police chief in the early 2000s.

SWEDEN

Police arrest protesters at Libyan Embassy

STOCKHOLM | Stockholm police stormed the Libyan Embassy on Thursday and arrested seven people who had broken in and appeared likely to try to kill themselves or set fire to the building, police said.

The group had broken into the Libyan Embassy in Stockholm on Thursday morning in what appeared to be a protest action, and police had been alerted to the intrusion when an alarm inside the building went off.

REPUBLIC OF CONGO

Human rights group says regime flouting democracy

BRAZZAVILLE | A leading human rights group in Congo charged Thursday that the regime is chronically violating democratic values.

With parliamentary elections due in 2012, the Congolese Observatory of Human Rights complained about shrinking freedoms under President Denis Sassou Nguesso.

“The OCDH is alarmed by repeated attacks on democracy and vigorously condemns the numerous arrests targeting people who want to express their opinions as well as the banning of opposition rallies,” the group said.

BRAZIL

Prison officials draft geese as new guards

SAO PAULO | An overcrowded prison in northeastern Brazil has added a new layer of security against escapes: two geese.

Sobral prison Warden Wellington Picanco told the G1 news website the geese make a lot of noise when they sense “strange movements.”

He said the geese roaming the prison grounds also will help alert guards to the outbreak of violence among rival gangs at the overcrowded facility.

The prison was built to hold 153 inmates. It currently holds 255.