- The Washington Times - Monday, April 2, 2007


Tsunami ‘wiped out’ villages, official says

HONIARA — Several villages in the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific were destroyed by a tsunami today, the chairman of the National Disaster Council said.

“Some villages are completely wiped out,” Fred Fakari told journalists in the capital, Honiara.

He said there had been unconfirmed reports of two deaths, but that information on the extent of the damage caused by the tsunami, which followed a powerful 8.0-magnitude earthquake, remained sketchy.

Phone lines and electricity were down in the Western Province capital of Gizo, which was 28 miles from the center of the quake.


Iran preparing for attack by U.S.

JERUSALEM — Iran is making defensive preparations for what it fears will be a U.S. military attack this summer, Israel’s military intelligence chief said yesterday.

Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin also told the Israeli Cabinet that Lebanon’s Hezbollah guerrillas and Syria fear they could be targeted in any U.S.-initiated war against Iran, an Israeli government official said, briefing reporters on his remarks.

“What we are seeing is their preparation for the possibility of war in the summer. My assessment is that they are defensive preparations for war,” Gen. Yadlin was quoted as saying of Iran, Syria and Hezbollah.


John Paul II passes sainthood milestone

VATICAN CITY — Catholic Church officials today reached a milestone in the drive to make Pope John Paul II a saint, closing an investigation into his life and handing over a dossier detailing the purported miraculous cure of a nun who prayed to him.

The events come two years after John Paul died — a remarkably fast pace that underscores the church’s sharp interest in beatifying John Paul.

Pope Benedict XVI put John Paul on the fast track for sainthood just weeks after his April 2, 2005, death, when he waived the customary five-year waiting period for an investigation into his predecessor’s virtues to begin immediately.


Taliban officials hang 3 accused informers

KANDAHAR — Taliban guerrillas hanged three men yesterday after accusing them of spying for British troops in Afghanistan, a rebel commander and other witnesses said.

The three were hanged from trees in front of residents in the town of Musa Qala in southern Helmand province, a Taliban stronghold and the main drug-producing region of Afghanistan.

“They were spying for the British troops and had tipped them off about the location of one of our commanders who was killed by an air strike,” Nizamuddin, a provincial Taliban commander, said by phone from the district.


Peacekeeper killed in mounting violence

MOGADISHU — Mortar bombs crashed into central Mogadishu yesterday and Uganda said its first peacekeeper had been killed there as battles pitting Ethiopian and Somali troops against insurgents raged for a fourth day.

Despite reports that clan leaders fighting alongside Islamist hard-liners had brokered a truce with the Ethiopian military — the second in as many weeks — there was no letup in clashes that have killed scores of civilians and wounded hundreds more.

Bodies lay strewn in dusty streets, too dangerous to collect amid violence that the International Committee of the Red Cross said was the seaside capital’s worst in more than 15 years.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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