- - Thursday, September 20, 2012


LONDON — A British soldier has given birth to a son while serving in Afghanistan at the same camp where Prince Harry is deployed and a Taliban attack last week killed two U.S. Marines.

The birth in a combat zone field hospital is thought to be the first ever case of its type for Britain’s military.

The Fijian national, a gunner with the Royal Artillery, delivered the child Tuesday at Camp Bastion, the major British base in southern Afghanistan’s Helmand province, which last week suffered a major attack in which two U.S. Marines were killed and six American fighter jets destroyed.

Britain’s defense ministry said Thursday that it had not been aware the soldier was pregnant, and stressed that it does not allow female soldiers to deploy on operation if they are pregnant. It declined to say whether the soldier, who has not been named, was aware of her pregnancy.

The woman had deployed to Afghanistan in March, meaning her child was conceived before her tour of duty began.


Police kill 2 more in crackdown on strike

RUSTENBURG — Days after soldiers were deployed, South African President Jacob Zuma’s office announced Thursday that he has ordered military forces to assist police trying to control labor unrest in the nation’s crucial mining sector.

Despite resolution of the longest and bloodiest strike, two more deaths were reported.

Even as miners returned to work Thursday at the Lonmin PLC platinum mine in Marikana, where police killed 34 miners Aug. 16, labor advocates said police killed two more people: a ruling party municipal councilor who died of injuries from a rubber bullet and a miner who was run over by an armored car.

Mr. Zuma’s office said he was invoking the constitution to use the military to support police “in the prevention and combating of crime as well as the maintenance of law and order in the Marikana Area and other areas around the country where needed” until Jan. 31.

The notice from the presidency referred to Section 201 (2) of the constitution, which states that “only the President, as head of the national executive, may authorize the employment of the defense force.”

Last weekend some 1,000 soldiers were trucked into the “platinum belt” northwest of Johannesburg.


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