- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 3, 2006

IRAQ

At least 51 killed in violence

BAGHDAD — A suicide bomber unleashed a blast in a Baghdad fish market yesterday and two Shi’ite families were found slain north of the capital as violence across Iraq claimed at least 51 lives.

The U.S. military, meanwhile, announced the deaths of nine soldiers and two Marines in what has been a deadly period for American forces in Iraq. The announcement brought to at least 15 the number of service members killed in fighting since Saturday.

Sunni politicians expressed worries about a new government plan to stop sectarian violence. The plan, announced a day earlier by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, won some praise in parliament yesterday, but Shi’ite and Sunni leaders delayed potentially contentious talks to work out its details.

The four-point plan calls for creating neighborhood Shi’ite-Sunni committees to monitor efforts against sectarian violence. The aim is to overcome the deep mistrust between Sunnis and Shi’ites.

SRI LANKA

Tamil rebels agree to unconditional talks

COLOMBO — Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tiger rebels agreed yesterday to unconditional talks with the government but warned they will pull out of a 2002 cease-fire if the government persists with its military campaign, a spokesman for the insurgents said.

He was speaking after Norway’s peace envoy, Jon Hanssen-Bauer, met with Suppiah Thamilselvan, the head of the rebels’ political wing, to press for an end to months of bloodshed and a return to talks, suspended since February.

IRELAND

Leader apologizes for past cash aid

DUBLIN — Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern apologized publicly yesterday for having accepted money during his time as finance minister, appeasing his coalition partners who said they would remain with him in government.

The prime minister, in power since 1997, was under fire over $63,530 lent to him by friends in 1993 and 1994 after his marital separation and $14,990 from Irish businessmen at a 1994 dinner in Manchester, England.

With a general election due in the next nine months, some opponents called on Mr. Ahern to resign or call an immediate election. The Progressive Democrats, junior partner in government with Mr. Ahern’s Fianna Fail, said he should stay.

THAILAND

Ousted leader quits faltering party

BANGKOK — Thailand’s deposed prime minister resigned from his once all-powerful party in a letter faxed from London yesterday, after more than 200 colleagues quit the organization in the wake of a military coup.

Thaksin Shinawatra insisted his Thai Rak Thai party would survive the fallout, but other key members and analysts pronounced the exodus and Mr. Thaksin’s resignation as the death knell for the party that had dominated Thai politics since 2001.

Mr. Thaksin assigned deputy party leader Sudarat Keyuraphan to serve as the acting head of the party, but the move was largely seen as ceremonial because the coup leaders have banned all parties from engaging in politics.

LEBANON

Hezbollah buries fighter from U.S.

YAROUN — Hezbollah held a funeral yesterday for one of its Lebanese fighters who was also an American citizen, witnesses said.

Radwan Saleh, 35, was killed in July during a war between Israel and Hezbollah, sparked after the guerrilla group kidnapped two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid.

His wife and four children, who live between Lebanon and the United States, flew in from the United States for his funeral.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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