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World Briefs

- - Sunday, June 19, 2011

PAKISTAN

Chief seeks to repair dented army pride

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan's military chief is working to repair his army's wounded pride in the bitter aftermath of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, a humiliation that has strained U.S.-Pakistani relations and raised questions about the top general's own standing.

Retired and serving officers interviewed by the Associated Press spoke of seething anger within army ranks over the secret strike the Americans carried out on May 2, undetected by Pakistan's military.

The U.S. helicopter-borne operation set off a nationalist backlash: The usually untouchable army was sharply criticized in the press and on television talk shows, people demonstrated here in the capital demanding accountability, and open calls were made for the resignation of Gen. Asfaq Parvez Kayani, the military chief.

The army is Pakistan's strongest institution, and Gen. Kayani the nation's most powerful leader, but he "has to be very careful," said retired Lt. Gen. Talat Masood.

Like others interviewed, he doubted Gen. Kayani's underlings would try to unseat him in an intra-army coup, but he noted occasions in the past when disgruntled officers were found to be plotting against their chief.

ISRAEL

Israel asks U.S. to let spy attend father's funeral

JERUSALEM — Israelis are rallying behind convicted spy Jonathan Pollard like never before, urging the U.S. on Sunday to let the former Pentagon analyst leave prison to attend his father's funeral.

Israelis widely feel that after 25 years behind bars, Pollard has been excessively punished, and they seem puzzled over the U.S. refusal to set him free, despite recent calls for his release from some prominent former American officials.

Pollard was a civilian intelligence analyst for the U.S. Navy when he copied and gave to his Israeli handlers enough classified documents to fill a walk-in closet.

Arrested in 1985 after unsuccessfully seeking refuge at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, Pollard was convicted and sentenced to life in prison two years later. Pollard is scheduled for release in 2015, according to a U.S. Justice Department Web site.

Nachman Shai, an Israeli lawmaker leading a campaign on Pollard's behalf, said Israel has done everything it reasonably could to repair the damage done by the scandal.

YEMEN

12 terrorists die in government artillery attack

SANAA —| Military and medical officials say government artillery shelling of an area in southern Yemen has killed 12 militants linked to al Qaeda and wounded three others.

The officials said Sunday the shelling was concentrated on the Dufas area in Zinjibar, capital of Abyan province. Both spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters.

Militants are taking advantage of internal strife in Yemen to overrun parts of the country.

Several days ago, warplanes attacked hide-outs, killing several terrorists. The government also shelled the areas.

In response, the Ansar al-Sharia group listed in a statement the names and ranks of 12 air force and army officers it said it intended to kill for taking part in the attack.

ZAMBIA

Tainted former president to receive state funeral

LUSAKA — Zambia's corruption-tainted former president, Frederick Chiluba, who died Saturday, will be given a state funeral, the Cabinet said Sunday, announcing a week of national mourning.

"The burial will take place on June 27 in Lusaka," the secretary to the Cabinet, Joshua Kanganja, said in a statement.

"President Banda of the Republic of Zambia has declared Monday, June 20, to June 27 a period of national mourning for the late President Frederick Chiluba," said Mr. Kanganja.

The 68-year-old leader ruled the southern African country from 1991 to 2001, Mr. Chiluba died at his home Saturday morning after suffering a seizure. He had been battling acute heart and kidney problems.

Mr. Chiluba was credited with turning the page on the autocratic rule of the country's founding father, Kenneth Kaunda, but his image was later tainted by charges of embezzling state funds.

He was tried for stealing public money amounting to $500,000 during his time in office, but later was acquitted of the charges in 2008.

In 2010, a Zambian judge dismissed a ruling by a London court that found him and his associates guilty of siphoning $46 million from the state coffers.