- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 1, 2006


Maoist attack on trucks kills 23

NEW DELHI — Suspected Maoist militants attacked a group of trucks jammed with passengers yesterday in central India, killing 23 persons and injuring 33, police said.

The militants blew up one truck and set fire to two others after stopping them near the town of Darbhaguda in rural Chhattisgarh state. The attack, about 750 miles southeast of New Delhi, was launched a day before President Bush arrives in India for a four-day visit.

Maoists, who operate in at least nine of the country’s 29 states, have stepped up attacks in the past year, killing dozens of people, including police. India’s Home Ministry said about 9,300 Maoist guerrillas are operating in the country.


Cat confirmed with bird flu

BERLIN — The deadly strain of bird flu was confirmed yesterday in a cat in northern Germany, the first time the virus has been identified in a mammal in the 25 nations of the European Union.

The cat was on the northern island of Ruegen, where most of the more than 100 wild birds infected by the H5N1 strain were found, the Friedrich Loeffler institute said.

The cat was found dead over the weekend and then tested positive for H5N1, the institute said.

In Geneva, a World Health Organization spokeswoman said this was the first time she knows of a mammal being infected in Europe. Tigers and leopards were infected by H5N1 in Thailand, where they were fed chicken carcasses in a zoo.


Montenegrins set independence vote

PODGORICA — Montenegrins are to vote May 21 on whether they want to live in an independent state or remain in a union with Serbia, officials said.

Leaders of the tiny Balkan state’s pro-independence government and pro-union opposition held meetings with visiting U.N. envoy Miroslav Lajcak on the conditions for the vote yesterday.

Despite previous objections, Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic’s Democratic Party of Socialists late Monday accepted Mr. Lajcak’s proposal that the vote must pass by a 55 percent threshold. Opposition parties already had agreed to standards for the referendum set by the European Union.


AIDS activist missing after fast

BEIJING — A United Nations agency said yesterday it has expressed concern to the Chinese government about a Beijing-based AIDS activist who dropped from sight after staging a hunger strike to protest violence against dissidents.

Hu Jia, 31, was under house arrest and in the company of police when he was last seen, his wife said.

Joel Rehnstrom, country coordinator for the UNAIDS China office, said his agency was informed last week that Mr. Hu disappeared Feb. 16.


Rioting resumes at Kabul prison

KABUL — Police fired at inmates trying to push down a gate at Kabul’s main jail as about 2,000 prisoners resumed rioting yesterday after a 24-hour pause in violence. One inmate died and three were wounded in the renewed fighting, police said.

The clashes at Policharki prison restarted after negotiations to end the rebellion collapsed, said Abdul Halik, a police commander in the prison. He said authorities had urged the prisoners to move into a different wing of the jail but the inmates refused.

Police have blamed about 350 Taliban and al Qaeda detainees for inciting the riot.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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