- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 16, 2006

IRAQ

16 die in fighting, suicide bombing

BAGHDAD — A suicide bombing in the north and street battles hundreds of miles away in a Shi’ite holy city in the south killed 16 persons yesterday, demonstrating the tenuous security in Iraq as the U.S. focuses on curbing sectarian violence in Baghdad.

Nine persons died in the suicide attack outside the regional headquarters of President Jalal Talabani’s party in the northern city of Mosul; seven were killed in the fighting between Iraqi forces and followers of Mahmoud al-Hassani, an anti-U.S. cleric in Karbala.

In Baghdad, meanwhile, the U.S. military said car bombs triggered deadly explosions in a Shi’ite neighborhood Sunday, backing away from assertions that the blasts were caused by an accidental gas leak.

SOUTH KOREA

Roh urges North to return to talks

SEOUL — South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun urged North Korea yesterday to return to stalled talks on its nuclear weapons program and said Seoul was ready to provide assistance to the communist nation to achieve a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.

“North Korea should return to the six-way talks without conditions,” Mr. Roh said in speech marking the 61st anniversary of the peninsula’s liberation from Japan’s 1910-45 colonial rule.

Mr. Roh also pledged that Seoul “will spare no efforts and assistance to ensure that North Korea abandons its nuclear [weapons program], improves relations with major countries, including the U.S., and moves toward the path of peace and prosperity.”

IRAN

Exhibition features Holocaust cartoons

TEHRAN — An exhibition of cartoons about the Holocaust opened this week, reflecting Iran’s response to last year’s Muslim outrage over a caricature of the prophet Muhammad in a Danish newspaper.

The display, showing 204 entries from Iran and abroad, was strongly influenced by the views of hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who drew widespread condemnation last year for calling the Holocaust a “myth” and saying Israel should be destroyed.

Masoud Shojai, director of the host Caricature House, said a jury looked through 1,200 entries received after the contest was announced in February by the co-sponsor, the Iranian newspaper Hamshahri.

MEXICO

Protesters barred from Congress

MEXICO CITY — Hundreds of riot police in black body armor sealed Congress with roadblocks and a metal wall yesterday to keep leftist protesters away after a violent clash over Mexico’s disputed presidential election.

Federal police took control of all the streets around Congress in a show of force to prevent protesters from blockading the building ahead of President Vicente Fox’s state of the nation speech there in two weeks.

About 15 legislators from the Party of the Democratic Revolution, whose presidential candidate, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, narrowly lost the July 2 election to National Action Party candidate Felipe Calderon, were among those hurt Monday when police tore down tents in their camp, sprayed tear gas and drove back protesters with clubs.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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