Richardson faces obstacles to peace
KHARTOUM — New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson got a bleak assessment of the deteriorating situation in Darfur as he arrived in the Sudanese capital yesterday, hoping to lay the groundwork for peace in the region.
On a 17-hour overnight flight, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations worked on a plan to broker a cease-fire, continue the flow of humanitarian aide and persuade Sudanese President Omar Bashir to allow U.N. peacekeepers.
Cameron Hume, the top U.S. diplomat in Sudan, immediately laid out Mr. Richardson’s challenge. “I don’t think anybody’s strategy is working,” Mr. Hume told Mr. Richardson, a Democrat.
Rebels kill 10 in Assam attacks
GUWAHATI — Separatist rebels fatally shot 10 persons in two separate attacks in India’s restive northeastern state of Assam yesterday, police said.
The killings raised the death toll in a wave of rebel violence since Friday night to 67. Police blamed the attack on the United Liberation Front of Asom.
Police said militants fatally shot nine laborers at a brick kiln in the eastern district of Sivasagar and killed a businessman in the same district.
Brown to be ‘frank’ in U.S. relations
LONDON — Treasury chief Gordon Brown, expected to succeed Tony Blair as prime minister by September, suggested yesterday that he will pursue an Iraq policy that is more independent of Washington than the current government’s.
Mr. Brown acknowledged that mistakes were made in the aftermath of the Iraq invasion and promised to be “very frank” with President Bush. He also said that Britain is likely to scale down its commitment of troops to Iraq in the next year, even as the White House is considering dispatching thousands more, at least temporarily.
Mr. Brown’s comments, aired on the British Broadcasting Corp.’s “Sunday AM” program, seemed intended to distinguish himself from Mr. Blair, who has been criticized in Britain for his strong support for Mr. Bush and the war, both unpopular here.
Orthodox priest slain on eve of holy day
MOSCOW — Thieves killed a priest on the eve of Russian Orthodox Christmas and stole religious artworks from his church in an attack that senior clergymen said yesterday showed Russian society was “morally sick.”
The slaying in the Ural mountains was the second violent death of an Orthodox clergyman in two months. The previous death triggered a bout of national soul-searching about what commentators called the erosion of moral values in Russia.
Prosecutors said two suspects had been detained in the latest attack, which took place in the village of Neivo-Shaitansky on Saturday night. Russian Orthodox believers celebrate Christmas Day on Jan. 7.
Preacher, 107, takes 30-year-old bride
LAGOS — Samuel Akinbode Sadela, Nigeria’s oldest preacher at 107, said after marrying a 30-year-old woman that he derived his strength from God, a church member said yesterday.
“The Lord is my strength. I am very strong and energetic,” he said after the wedding in Lagos.
Mr. Sadela, founder of Gospel Apostolic Church, has been on the pulpit for 75 years.
Mr. Sadela first got married in 1934. His third wife is 77 years his junior.
From wire dispatches and staff reports