- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 19, 2007

UNITED NATIONS

Food agency chief seeks to end hunger

BRINDISI, Italy — The world could wipe out hunger in coming decades and make images of “children with swollen bellies a thing of history,” the new head of the United Nations food aid agency said yesterday.

Josette Sheeran, former undersecretary for economic affairs at the U.S. State Department, took the helm this month at the World Food Program, the world’s biggest aid agency with a budget of $3 billion.

She told Reuters news agency in an interview that the world now has a historic opportunity to stop starvation.

SOMALIA

Street battles rage in capital; 14 dead

MOGADISHU — Mortar fire killed three persons and wounded six in the Somali capital yesterday after a night of street fighting left at least 14 persons dead and dozens injured, witnesses and health officials said.

The fighting late Tuesday in northern and southern neighborhoods between Ethiopian troops backing Somalia’s fragile interim government and insurgents could be heard for miles.

Somali troops backed by Ethiopian forces ousted the country’s Islamic movement from Mogadishu and other strongholds in December. Remnants of the Islamic group have vowed to wage an Iraq-style insurgency and the capital has seen waves of violence. Diplomats have said that the violence also involves clan militias that are not necessarily linked to the Islamic extremists.

IRAN

Enrichment begins at Natanz plant

VIENNA, Austria — Iran has started feeding uranium gas for enrichment at a nuclear plant where it has installed more than 1,300 centrifuges, the United Nations atomic watchdog said yesterday, showing increasing defiance of U.N. resolutions.

Iran has assembled eight cascades of 164 centrifuges each — a total of 1,312 of the machines that turn uranium gas into enriched uranium for use as either nuclear reactor fuel or to the explosive core of atom bombs — at a heavily-bunkered underground facility in Natanz.

“Some UF6 (uranium hexafluoride gas) is being fed into those cascades,” International Atomic Energy Agency head of safeguards Ollie Heinonen said in a letter sent yesterday to Iran’s ambassador to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh.

CANADA

100 seal-hunter boats trapped in Atlantic ice

OTTAWA — About 100 small boats carrying seal hunters were trapped by thick ice off Canada’s Atlantic coast yesterday, and at least one crew member had to abandon ship, the Coast Guard said.

The boats were caught in the ice, facing damage or sinking, as crews hunted the young seals off the northeast coast of Newfoundland, where most of the annual hunt occurs.

Reduced ice conditions to the south meant this year’s total quota had been cut to 270,000 seals from 335,000 last year. The seals use the normally widespread ice floes in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and in the Atlantic Ocean to give birth to their young.

AFGHANISTAN

TV station raided over news story

KABUL — Afghanistan’s attorney general, accused by critics of regularly breaking the law, has raided Tolo television, one of the country’s most popular stations, over a news item, the broadcaster said yesterday.

About 50 armed policemen raided Tolo’s studio in an upmarket Kabul suburb on Tuesday night, assaulting staff and taking three senior journalists to the office of Attorney General Abdul Jabar Sabet, Tolo said in a statement.

Dozens of journalists and lawmakers protested yesterday outside parliament against the raid, accusing President Hamid Karzai’s government of smothering freedom of speech.

From wire service and staff reports.

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