- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 20, 2011

PAKISTAN

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.

ITALY

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.

INDIA

Quake’s toll at 81 in Himalayas

GANGTOK | Thousands of terrified survivors of a Himalayan earthquake that killed 81 people and shook parts of India, Nepal and China crowded Tuesday into shelters and relatives’ homes or stayed out in the open for fear of aftershocks.

Soldiers used dynamite and earthmovers to clear landslides on highways through the steep valleys linking the worst-hit northeastern Indian state of Sikkim to the rest of India.

They managed to clear a path to Mangan, the town closest to the epicenter of Sunday’s 6.9-magnitude quake, but many other communities remained cut off and authorities fear the death toll could rise once rescuers reach them.

JAPAN

One million people face typhoon danger

TOKYO | More than a million people in central Japan were urged to evacuate Tuesday as a powerful typhoon approached, triggering floods that left two people missing.

Public broadcaster NHK said about 1.3 million people have been ordered or advised to leave their homes, including 80,000 people in Nagoya.

Heavy rain as the storm approached caused floods and road damage in dozens of locations in Nagoya and several other cities, the Aichi state government said.

Television footage showed Nagoya residents wading through water up to their knees. In parts of the city near swollen rivers, rescue workers helped residents evacuate in rubber boats.

UGANDA

Police arrest author of anti-Museveni book

KAMPALA | The author of a book calling for a popular uprising against Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni was arrested in Kampala over the weekend, his wife said Tuesday.

Police confirmed they had arrested Vincent Nzaramba, without giving a reason.

However, his wife, Gloria, said, “The reason why he was arrested was the book he was writing called ‘People Power - Battle the Mighty General.”

She said police apprehended her husband at home in Kampala and took all the copies of his book, published in limited edition in August.

Mrs. Nzaramba said she had visited her husband in a police cell earlier Tuesday.

“He is not OK there. He is under pressure. That place is not secure for him,” she said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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