- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Gunmen kill 26 Shiites on pilgrimage to Iran

ISLAMABAD | Sunni extremists are suspected of opening fire on Shiite Muslim pilgrims traveling by bus through southwest Pakistan on Tuesday en route to Iran, killing 26 people, officials and survivors said.

Sunni militants with ideological and operational links to al Qaeda and the Taliban terrorists have carried out scores of bombings and shootings against Shiites in recent years.

At least eight attackers in a pickup truck blocked the path of the bus as it traveled through Baluchistan province. They forced the passengers off, said Khushhal Khan, the driver of the vehicle.

The passengers tried to run away, but the gunmen opened fire, killing 26 people and wounding six others, Mr. Khan said.

The attackers then drove off, leaving the dying and wounded. There were an estimated 40 people on the bus.


Scientists go on trial over quake predictions

ROME | Seven scientists and other experts went on trial on manslaughter charges Tuesday for allegedly failing to sufficiently warn residents before a devastating earthquake that killed more than 300 people in central Italy in 2009.

The case is being closely watched by seismologists around the globe who insist it’s impossible to predict earthquakes and dangerous to suggest otherwise since seismologists will be discouraged from issuing any advice if they fear legal retaliation.

Last year, about 5,200 international researchers signed a petition supporting their Italian colleagues, and the Seismological Society of America wrote to Italy’s president expressing concern about what it called an unprecedented legal attack on science.

The seven defendants are accused of giving “inexact, incomplete and contradictory information” about whether smaller tremors felt by L’Aquila residents in the six months before the April 6, 2009, quake should have constituted grounds for a warning.


Quake’s toll at 81 in Himalayas

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