- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Mortar fire hits presidential palace

MOGADISHU — Militants fired mortars at the presidential palace yesterday just hours after the president moved in, but he was not hurt in the attack that killed a 12-year-old boy and wounded three of his siblings, witnesses and officials said.

Elsewhere in the increasingly violent capital, a remote-controlled roadside bomb struck a convoy carrying the deputy mayor, killing two government aides and seriously wounding a bodyguard, another witness said. Gunbattles also erupted in the city.

Insurgents fired six mortars at the hilltop palace only hours after President Abdullahi Yusuf moved to the city from the southern stronghold of Baidoa. Ethiopian tanks quickly sealed off the area, and several hundred Ethiopian and government troops created a 160-foot protective cordon around the palace.


Legislation sets greenhouse-gas limits

LONDON — Britain yesterday became the first country to propose legislation setting binding limits on greenhouse gases as it stepped up its campaign for a new global-warming pact to succeed the Kyoto Protocol.

In its draft climate-change bill, the government said carbon dioxide emissions had to be cut by at least 60 percent by 2050, set out five-year carbon budgets to reach the target and created an independent monitoring committee to check annual progress.

Prime Minister Tony Blair put climate change at the top of the international agenda when Britain was head of the Group of Eight industrialized nations in 2005, and it could now become the first nation to limit emissions by statute.


Defense pact signed with Australia

TOKYO — Japan and Australia signed a groundbreaking defense pact yesterday that the leaders of both countries stressed was not intended to rein in China.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Australian Prime Minister John Howard signed off on the agreement, Japan’s first such pact with a country other than the United States, after talks in Tokyo.

The four-part defense agreement sets priorities for security cooperation in such areas as counterterrorism, maritime security, border protection and disaster relief.


Hostages freed in Ethiopia

LONDON — Five Europeans kidnapped in Ethiopia 12 days ago have been released and are in good health, British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said yesterday.

The three British men, one Italian-British woman and a Frenchwoman all have links to the British diplomatic community in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa.

They were seized by armed attackers while traveling in Ethiopia’s remote northeast Afar region.


Adam Smith gets 20-pound note

LONDON — The father of modern economics replaced a classical composer as the new face of the Bank of England’s 20-pound note yesterday, becoming the first Scot to receive the honor.

Notes began circulating yesterday featuring a portrait of the 18th-century economist Adam Smith, who argued for free trade, capitalism and libertarianism in his book “The Wealth of Nations.”

The 20-pound note — worth $38.70 — is Britain’s most common. The 1.3 billion older 20-pound notes in circulation, featuring the English composer Edward Elgar, will be phased out over the next two years. The second most common bank note, the 10-pound note, features a portrait of naturalist Charles Darwin.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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