- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 13, 2005

AFGHANISTAN

New quake rattles stricken region

KABUL — A strong earthquake struck remote northeastern Afghanistan and shook neighboring Pakistan, the scene of a devastating quake two months ago. No reports of damage or injuries were issued.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude 6.7 quake was centered in the remote Hindu Kush region of northeastern Afghanistan.

The quake was felt more than 200 miles away in Islamabad, Pakistan, and in Kabul, where the shaking lasted several seconds and people rushed into the streets.



LIBERIA

Weah-camp protests cause coup fears

MONROVIA — Liberia’s government said yesterday it was investigating reports of a coup plot after the loser of a runoff election last month renewed assertions that he was the rightful president-elect.

Supporters of soccer star George Weah, who lost the Nov. 8 vote to former Finance Minister Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, rampaged through a Monrovia suburb Sunday after the former AC Milan striker told them to fight for “liberation.”

Mrs. Johnson-Sirleaf was abroad and not due back until Friday. Liberia’s government held a crisis meeting yesterday to discuss the unrest.

Mr. Weah, who has a strong following among young Liberians, and his Congress for Democratic Change party said the Nov. 8 vote was marred by widespread cheating.

AUSTRALIA

Violence spreads in Sydney suburbs

SYDNEY — Violence spilled into a second night yesterday as scores of youths drove through predominantly white suburbs of Sydney, smashing windows of cars, homes and stores and raising fears of spreading racial unrest.

Prime Minister John Howard called the violence “sickening,” but denied it was rooted in racism. Arab community leaders said the unrest would heighten racial tensions as cell phone text messages warned of retribution by the Arab community and attacks by neo-Nazi groups.

About 5,000 white men, many of them drunk, targeted people thought to be of Arab or Middle Eastern descent on Cronulla Beach on Sunday after rumors spread that Lebanese youths had assaulted two lifeguards earlier this month.

Police, who had stepped up patrols on the beach after learning of cell phone text messages urging people to retaliate for the attack on the lifeguards, fought back with batons and pepper spray.

COLOMBIA

Paramilitaries give up arms, helicopters

OTU — About 2,000 right-wing paramilitary fighters, including a warlord considered a major drug trafficker by the United States, turned in weapons and helicopter gunships yesterday in one of Colombia’s largest disarmament ceremonies in years.

In exchange for disbanding, the fighters from the outlawed United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, or AUC, were granted amnesty and will begin receiving a monthly stipend of $180 from the government.

Paramilitary factions have been disarming since 2003 as part of a peace deal brokered by President Alvaro Uribe that aims to dissolve the AUC by next year. The AUC once had 20,000 fighters but now has about 7,000.

CZECH REPUBLIC

Boy’s nose retrieved from dog, sewn back

PRAGUE — Czech surgeons sewed back the nose of an 11-year-old boy after it had been bitten off by a dog and remained in its stomach for two hours, Czech papers reported yesterday.

The 11-hour operation was carried out at St. Ann Faculty Hospital in Brno after a dog attacked the boy on Nov. 17.

Veterinarians had to operate first to recover the nose from the dog’s stomach. The hospital then had to weigh the risks of operating because the time the nose spent in the dog’s stomach increased the risks of infection.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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