- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 15, 2007

CUBA

Castro reported fit for 2008 re-election

HAVANA — Ailing President Fidel Castro is recovering steadily and will be in “perfect condition” to be re-elected president next year, parliamentary leader Ricardo Alarcon said yesterday.

“I am certain he will be in perfect condition to continue assuming this responsibility,” Mr. Alarcon told journalists when asked whether the 80-year-old leader, who stepped aside seven months ago after surgery, would renew his mandate as Cuba’s leader in 2008.

ECUADOR

Protesters hurl stones at lawmakers

QUITO — A crowd of Ecuadorans pelted lawmakers with rocks and smashed their cars, police and legislators said yesterday, as a feud between President Rafael Correa and Congress deepens in the volatile Andean country.

Hundreds of people in the coastal town of Rocafuerte, 143 miles west of Quito, blocked congressmen from asking a court to overturn a decision by the electoral tribunal to fire them last week.

“A mob assaulted us. They destroyed our cars and hurled rocks at us,” lawmaker Gloria Gallardo told Reuters.

INDIA

49 dead as Maoists raid police post

NEW DELHI — Communist rebel suspects bombarded a police post in the remote jungles of eastern India with gunfire, hand grenades and gasoline bombs yesterday, killing at least 49 persons in one of the bloodiest attacks of the decadeslong insurgency.

The assault was the latest in a series of brazen attacks by the Maoist rebels, who hold sway over a wide swath of grindingly poor forest communities and farming villages largely left out of India’s economic boom.

Equipped with rifles, hand grenades and homemade gasoline bombs, the Maoists surrounded a remote police post in the pre-dawn attack, apparently catching the 79 officers by surprise, authorities said. Before fleeing with weapons stolen from the post, the attackers scattered land mines across the area to stop the surviving officers from giving chase.

IRAQ

Bombings kill 12 in capital

BAGHDAD — Four U.S. troops were killed and two injured in a roadside bombing in eastern Baghdad yesterday, and a suicide car bomber apparently targeting a senior city official sent a ball of fire tearing through a busy square in a mainly Shi’ite area of Baghdad yesterday, killing at least eight persons.

The driver detonated his explosives as a convoy carrying the head of the Baghdad City Council, Sabir al-Issawi, was passing an Iraqi military checkpoint in the central Karradah neighborhood. The council chief was unharmed, but three of his bodyguards were wounded, his deputy said.

It was the second devastating blast to hit the thriving commercial district in four days. An explosives-laden car rammed a flatbed truck packed with Shi’ite pilgrims there on Sunday, killing 32 persons.

Earlier, the military said a U.S. soldier was killed Wednesday in fighting in Anbar province, west of Baghdad, while a Marine died the same day in an incident in Anbar that was not related to combat and is under investigation.

ZIMBABWE

Mugabe tells West to ‘go hang’

HARARE — President Robert Mugabe yesterday told Western countries to “go hang” after international outrage over charges his government assaulted the main opposition leader in police detention.

Opposition officials said police tortured Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai and several opposition and civic groups’ leaders on Sunday when they tried to attend a prayer vigil in a Harare township.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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