- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 30, 2005

SYRIA

Assad orders probe into Hariri killing

DAMASCUS — Syrian President Bashar Assad issued an order yesterday for a special committee to investigate possible Syrian involvement in the assassination of a former prime minister in neighboring Lebanon, the state news agency said.

The orders were issued as the U.N. Security Council considers a U.N. investigator’s report that implicated top Syrian and Lebanese security officials in the Feb. 14 killing of Rafik Hariri and accused Mr. Assad’s regime of not cooperating with the probe.

Syria sharply disputed the report’s findings, but said it would cooperate in the U.N. investigation, which has been extended until Dec. 15.

The United States, France and Britain are promoting a Security Council resolution to be discussed tomorrow that would threaten tough sanctions against Syria if it failed to cooperate with the U.N. inquiry.

NORTH KOREA

Leader heaps praise on China

BEIJING — North Korea’s leader praised Beijing’s effort to ensure peace on the Korean Peninsula after he promised the Chinese president that Pyongyang will take part in the next round of nuclear talks, news reports said yesterday.

Kim Jong-il made the remarks at a Friday evening banquet for Chinese President Hu Jintao, who was in Pyongyang to lobby for progress in the negotiations, scheduled in November.

Mr. Hu’s government is making “serious efforts to ensure peace and stability on the neighboring Korean Peninsula. We highly appreciate this,” the North’s official Korean Central News Agency quoted Mr. Kim as saying.

China, which organized the talks, is under pressure from the United States and other governments to use its leverage as North Korea’s main ally and aid donor to push Pyongyang for concessions. The negotiations also include South Korea, Japan, Russia and the United States.

TIBET

China’s Panchen Lama visits monastery

BEIJING — The Chinese-appointed 11th Panchen Lama returned to his traditional seat in the Tibetan city of Shigatse yesterday, state television reported, in a rare trip 10 years after he was chosen.

Beijing anointed Gyaltsen Norbu as Tibet’s second-most-important religious figure in 1995, but the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s spiritual leader, chose a different boy, exacerbating a split between the government and the Dalai Lama that has tested Tibetans’ loyalties.

The Dalai Lama’s nominee has never been seen in public and is thought to be living under house arrest in Tibet, the mountainous Buddhist region Chinese troops invaded in 1950.

Nine years later, the Dalai Lama fled to India, where he leads a government-in-exile in the hill station of Dharamsala.

AFGHANISTAN

U.S. paratrooper killed, British soldiers injured

KABUL — A U.S. paratrooper was killed and four British peacekeepers were wounded in attacks in northern and eastern Afghanistan yesterday, officials said.

The U.S. soldier died after his patrol came under small arms and rocket grenade fire at Lwara, near eastern Afghanistan’s border with Pakistan, the U.S. military said.

The British soldiers were shot by four men armed with assault rifles in the middle of the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif, said Imamuddin, a senior police official in the city. He said three of the attackers had been arrested.

Troops from NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) have been attacked several times in northern Afghanistan, but yesterday’s shooting was the first against ISAF soldiers in Mazar-e-Sharif, which is relatively secure.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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