- - Sunday, May 22, 2011

HONDURAS

Planned accord will let Honduras return to OAS

TEGUCIGALPA — President Porfirio Lobo will sign an agreement to allow Honduras’ re-entry into the Organization of American States (OAS) and for ousted President Manuel Zelaya to return to his homeland.

The signing was set take place in Cartagena, Colombia, on Sunday at a meeting also to be attended by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, who, along with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, began mediating a solution to Honduras’ political crisis since April.

Honduras was expelled from the OAS after the June 2009 coup that forced Mr. Zelaya into exile.

IRAQ

Britain ends military mission

BAGHDAD — Britain concluded its naval training mission in Iraq on Sunday, more than eight years after it contributed the second-largest contingent of troops to the U.S.-led invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein.

Despite having pulled out the vast majority of its troops in mid-2009, Britain’s Royal Navy has continued to train Iraqi personnel to defend their territorial waters and offshore oil installations.

Some 46,000 British troops were deployed to Iraq in March and April 2003, at the height of combat operations that resulted in Saddam’s overthrow and eventual execution for crimes against humanity.

A total of 179 British personnel died in Iraq in the past eight years.

A small number will remain at the British Embassy in Baghdad, and 41 British soldiers are working with NATO’s training mission in Iraq.

PAKISTAN

Thousands protest against drone attacks

KARACHI — Thousands demonstrated in Karachi on Sunday to demand an immediate end to U.S. missile strikes in Pakistan’s lawless tribal areas and urge the blocking of NATO supplies passing through the country.

Activists from the Tehreek-e-Insaf (Movement for Justice) continued a two-day sit-in outside the city’s Arabian Sea port, urging the government to end its cooperation with Washington’s “war on terror.”

“It is not Pakistan’s war, this is America’s war. This war has killed thousands of innocent Pakistanis, women and children,” the group’s leader and former cricketer Imran Khan told the gathering of around 7,000 supporters.

Karachi, the country’s largest city, is important to logistical support for NATO forces fighting against Taliban militants in Afghanistan.

CYPRUS

Al Qaeda heir backs revolts, Shariah in Egypt

NICOSIA — Ayman al-Zawahri, al Qaeda’s longtime No. 2 to Osama bin Laden, has backed the wave of Arab revolts and called for Shariah law in Egypt in his latest audio message, U.S. monitors reported Sunday.

In a three-part audio message that the jihadist network’s media arm Al-Sahab said was recorded before U.S. forces killed bin Laden on May 2, Zawahri addressed the populations of Libya, Syria and Egypt in turn.

SITE Intelligence, which monitors jihadist Internet forums, said the Egyptian militant warned Libyans that the NATO-led aerial bombing campaign against Col. Moammar Gadhafi seeks to replace the strongman with its own tyrannical regime.

He also called upon the Muslims of North Africa to join the fight against Col. Gadhafi and to obtain weapons, while criticizing Egypt’s military for not coming to the aid of Egyptian expatriates residing in Libya.

Zawahri also called for Egypt to abolish its relationship with Israel, as well as for Egypt to cease closing its border with Gaza, asking Egyptians to rise up and head to the Rafah border crossing and dismantle it.

He also briefly addressed Syrians, calling on them to continue their uprising against President Bashar Assad’s regime and to ignore the words of support offered by Americans, whom Zawahri argues have been allied with the regime in the war on terror.

SOUTH AFRICA

Violence claims lives of 4 police officers

JOHANNESBURG — Violence against South African police has reached a crisis point, the national police chief said Sunday, after four of his men were killed in just a few days.

Two officers were fatally shot and their guns stolen early Sunday in a Cape Town squatter camp. On Thursday, two officers were killed after raiding a building in eastern KwaZulu-Natal province. Police say the suspect in the KwaZulu-Natal shooting opened fire after police demanded he show them his liquor license.

“This is indeed a crisis,” Chief Bheki Cele said Sunday. “The rate at which our officers are being callously gunned down is extremely alarming.”

Experts have expressed concern about the violence police face and low morale in the force, and about what they see as a breakdown in trust between police and the citizens they are pledged to protect.

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