- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 1, 2006

IRAN

Dissident dies after prison fast

TEHRAN — A jailed student activist has died in Tehran’s most notorious prison after a nine-day hunger strike to protest a lack of medical care, a human rights group said yesterday.

Akbar Mohammadi, 34, who died Sunday in Evin Prison, was arrested for taking part in protests at Tehran University in July 1999 — Iran’s biggest anti-government demonstrations since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

He was sentenced to death after being convicted of throwing Molotov cocktails during the protests, but his sentence was reduced to 15 years in prison.

SRI LANKA

18 soldiers, 46 rebels killed

COLOMBO — A roadside bomb exploded near a military truck last night in northeastern Sri Lanka, killing 18 soldiers, security officials said as a senior rebel leader declared the country’s cease-fire “null and void.”

Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam rebels and government soldiers also traded artillery shells and gunfire as the air force struck insurgent positions, killing at least 46 fighters, the army said.

The clashes in the northeastern district of Trincomalee and in Jaffna, a port on Sri Lanka’s northern tip, were among the fiercest since a 2002 cease-fire and as close to open war as the two sides have come in months of back-and-forth attacks.

BRITAIN

Court rejects same-sex ‘marriage’

LONDON — A British court refused to recognize the same-sex “marriage” of two university professors yesterday, ruling that marriage has long been accepted in Britain as a union between a man and a woman.

Sue Wilkinson, 49, and Celia Kitzinger, 52, “wed” in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 2003 and had asked London’s High Court for legal recognition of the “marriage.”

Mark Potter, president of the High Court’s Family Division, ruled that there was a “long-standing definition and acceptance” that marriage refers to a relationship between a man and a woman, primarily intended to raise children.

SOUTH KOREA

Soldiers trade gunfire along border

SEOUL — Soldiers from North Korea and South Korea exchanged fire along their border late yesterday, but no one was hurt, a South Korean military official said today.

The incident occurred shortly before sunset when North Korean soldiers fired two bullets toward a South Korean guard post in the eastern part of the demilitarized zone, said Maj. Kim Tae-hoon of the Joint Chiefs of Staff office.

South Korean soldiers immediately fired back six rounds, Maj. Kim said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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