- - Monday, July 4, 2011

BRITAIN

Thatcher praises Reagan as statue unveiled in London

LONDON — Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher paid tribute to Ronald Reagan on Monday as a statue of the U.S. president was unveiled in London, even though frailty prevented her from attending.

In a statement read on her behalf during the ceremony outside the U.S. Embassy, timed to coincide with Fourth of July celebrations in the United States, Mrs. Thatcher said Reagan was a “great president and a great man, a true leader for our times.”

“He held clear principles and acted upon them with purpose. Through his strength and his conviction, he brought millions of people to freedom as the Iron Curtain finally came down,” said Mrs. Thatcher, who was prime minister when Reagan was president.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague and former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice were among the dignitaries attending the unveiling of a 10-foot statue of Reagan to mark 100 years since his birth.

TURKEY

Report: Turkish generals detained in coup probe

ISTANBUL — Five Turkish generals and a colonel were arrested Monday pending trial over an alleged 2003 plan to overthrow the Islamist-rooted government, Anatolia news agency reported.

The six, who turned themselves in to an Istanbul court, were among eight defendants on an arrest warrant issued last week as part of an expanding probe that has already landed some 200 soldiers in court, Anatolia said.

A total of 28 servicemen will go on trial Aug. 15 in the second stage of a case over “Operation Sledgehammer” — an alleged plan to oust the Justice and Development Party (AKP), drawn up in 2003 shortly after the party came to power amid fears it would undermine Turkey’s secular system.

THAILAND

Thailand’s election winner puts together coalition

BANGKOK — Thailand’s election winner moved quickly Monday to shore up her party’s already-resounding victory, forming a ruling coalition with four smaller parties and vowing to pursue national reconciliation after five years of instability and political violence over the military coup that ousted her brother.

Yingluck Shinawatra, who will become Thailand’s first female prime minister, said her priority would be “how to lead the country to unity and reconciliation.”

The 2006 military coup that ousted Thaksin Shinawatra sharply polarized Thai society, opening up a struggle between his supporters and opponents. The conflict culminated in protests and street battles that roiled Bangkok last year and took 90 lives as the army restored order.

PAKISTAN

Swiss hostages moved to al Qaeda hotbed in Pakistan

QUETTA — A Swiss couple kidnapped on vacation in Pakistan have been smuggled into the lawless tribal belt on the Afghan border, a notorious haven for the Taliban and al Qaeda, an official said Monday.

Olivier David Och, 31, and Daniela Widmer, 28, were abducted Friday while driving through the impoverished and sparsely populated Balochistan province, which borders Iran and Afghanistan in southwest Pakistan.

CHINA

Bus crash kills 23, injures 29 in south China

BEIJING — A tourist bus carrying 52 passengers flipped over and burst into flames after it was rear-ended by a cargo truck in south China on Monday, killing at least 23 people and injuring 29, state media said.

Xinhua said the accident occurred at 3:50 a.m. Monday on a stretch of the Suizhou-Yueyang expressway that cuts through Hubei province. People from both vehicles, including the truck driver, were among those killed.

From wire dispatches and staff reports