- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 8, 2006


Report says Castro has terminal cancer

U.S. officials think Fidel Castro has terminal cancer and is unlikely to return to power, a magazine reported yesterday.

Despite remarks by Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque on Wednesday that Mr. Castro “continues to recover, [and] we will have him back leading the Revolution,” Time magazine reported on its Web site that many U.S. officials are now convinced that Mr. Castro has terminal cancer and will never retake the reins of the Americas’ only communist-ruled country.

Mr. Castro, 80, handed over the presidency for the first time in almost five decades to his brother, Raul Castro, 75, who has long been Cuba’s defense chief, after Fidel had intestinal surgery in July. He has largely remained out of the public spotlight since then.


Islamist rulers draw protesters

BAIDOA — Dozens of people protested yesterday against an Islamist militia that has seized much of southern Somalia, a day after the group appointed a new administration in the country’s third-largest city.

One person was injured when militiamen fired into the air as they tried to disperse the crowd in Kismayo, a key seaport about 260 miles southwest of the capital, Mogadishu.

Abdu-kadir Ahmed, the newly appointed officer in charge of security in Kismayo, said about 100 demonstrators had been arrested for taking part in protests Friday and yesterday.


Government jets attack Tamil positions

COLOMBO — Military jets pounded separatist Tamil Tiger positions in northern and eastern Sri Lanka yesterday as the rebels sent a private letter to the head of the Norwegian peace negotiation team.

The contents of the letter were unknown, but earlier last week, rebels warned they would pull out of a 2002 cease-fire negotiated by Norway if the government continues to attack rebel positions.

The latest fighting began Friday and has left dozens of troops and rebels dead. Each side has denied initiating the attacks.


48 Taliban suspects arrested in Quetta

QUETTA — Police acting on a tip raided several militant hide-outs in southwestern Pakistan and arrested 48 suspected Taliban who had arrived in small groups from Afghanistan, police said yesterday.

The arrests were made during the previous 24 hours in Quetta, the capital of southwestern Baluchistan province, said Wazir Khan, the city police chief.

Pakistan was once a main supporter of Afghanistan’s Taliban regime but switched sides after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.


12 rebel fighters killed in renewed fighting

KINSHASA — Congolese government forces killed 12 militiamen yesterday while fighting off the latest wave of attacks by resurgent Ituri rebel groups, just weeks ahead of the final round of historic post-war elections, the army said.

Two Bangladeshi U.N. peacekeepers were wounded in the fighting as blue helmets, backed by helicopter gunships firing rockets, battled the eastern Congolese militia who launched their second attack on government positions in a week.

The fighting in Ituri, one of the bloodiest corners during the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s 1998-2003 war, highlights the continuing violence in the east despite millions of Congolese voting in a relatively successful first-round presidential ballot in July.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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