- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Top general killed in suicide attack

PANIPITIYA — One of Sri Lanka’s top generals was assassinated Monday by a suicide bomber suspected of being a Tamil Tiger, stoking fears of a return to civil war.

Three other persons also were killed by the bomber, who rammed his motorbike into an army convoy near the capital, officials said.

The military said it was reintroducing all security measures in effect in government-controlled areas before a 2002 cease-fire, which officials said meant increased road blocks and security checks, particularly at border crossings to territory controlled by the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

Army Deputy Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Parami Kulatunga was traveling to army headquarters when the attacker approached his vehicle and an escorting army pickup truck in rush-hour traffic about 12 miles from Colombo.


Secretary of state visits Musharraf

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was expected to arrive in Pakistan today for talks with President Pervez Musharraf on what the United States, Pakistan and Afghanistan can do to quell resurgent Taliban activity. Miss Rice told the reporters on her airplane that she also would bring up democracy and human rights issues with the Pakistani president.

Miss Rice will visit Moscow later this week to participate in the foreign ministers meeting of the Group of Eight.


Cage fighter held over record heist

LONDON — Britain yesterday sought the extradition of a professional fighter who was arrested in Morocco over the weekend in connection with the biggest cash robbery in British history.

Lee “Lightning” Murray, 26, from Sidcup in south London, was detained in the Moroccan capital Rabat on Sunday in connection with the daring heist four months ago at a Securitas warehouse in Tonbridge, southeast of the British capital.

The robbers made off with a record $95.4 million. According to his Web site, Mr. Murray has won eight of his last 11 matches as a cage fighter — a sport in which contestants trained in a variety of martial arts face off inside a steel cage.


EU rallies against torture

VIENNA — The European Union, which has been harshly critical of prisoner abuse at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib facility and the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, urged all nations yesterday to sign a global convention against torture and condemned the practice for any reason.

“No culture of impunity is acceptable,” the 25-nation bloc warned in a statement coinciding with observances of the United Nations’ ninth annual International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.

“The EU resolves to continue and intensify its own efforts to secure a world free from torture,” it said.


Voters reject Berlusconi reforms

ROME — Italians resoundingly rejected a proposal to overhaul their constitution yesterday as voters rewarded the new government and delivered a fresh blow to former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi two months after he lost power.

Results from all polling stations except those overseas showed that 61.7 percent of the voters in a two-day, nationwide referendum turned down the plan to strengthen the prime minister’s powers and give more autonomy to the regions.

The result was a boon for new Prime Minister Romano Prodi, who campaigned against the changes, arguing they would wreck national unity, weaken the president and cost billions of euros.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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