- The Washington Times - Friday, May 25, 2007


Methane blast kills 38 at Siberian mine

MOSCOW — A methane explosion tore through a coal mine in southern Siberia yesterday, killing at least 38 workers, emergency officials said, in the latest deadly accident to hit Russia’s ailing mining industry.

The blast at the Yubileinaya mine is the second to hit a mine owned and operated by OAO Yuzhkuzbassugol in two months.

The explosion occurred about 1,700 feet underground at the mine near Novokuznetsk, about 1,850 miles east of Moscow.


Stakes bumped up in power struggle

KIEV — President Viktor Yushchenko fired Ukraine’s top prosecutor yesterday, and the interior minister appeared to defy the order, sending dozens of police to surround the prosecutor’s building and dramatically raising the stakes in the political chaos in the former Soviet republic.

Prosecutor General Svyatoslav Piskun, who has long sparred with the president, initially pledged to defy the order but later appeared to soften his stance.

Still, the dismissal prompted Mr. Yushchenko’s longtime rival, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, to cut short a trip to the Black Sea Crimean Peninsula, returning home to Kiev for an urgent meeting with his government.


Terrorist escapee surrenders after a year

SAN’A — A Yemeni-American who was placed on the FBI’s list of 26 “most wanted” terrorism suspects after tunneling out of a Yemeni jail with other convicted al Qaeda prisoners last year has surrendered, authorities said yesterday.

Jaber A. Elbaneh, 40, and another escapee have surrendered, Interior Minister Rashad al-Olaimi said.

Elbaneh, a U.S. citizen of Yemeni origin, is wanted in Buffalo, N.Y., on a 2002 charge of providing material support to a terrorist organization.


Al Jazeera reveals new al Qaeda leader

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Al Qaeda has appointed a new leader in Afghanistan, Al Jazeera television reported yesterday, broadcasting a statement in which he said support for the group was growing.

Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, who was not previously known, pledged allegiance to al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahri.

Meanwhile, two coalition military operations in southern Afghanistan killed 18 persons suspected of being militants, including seven “foreigners.” Ten Afghans died in two other explosions across the country.


President’s son-in-law loses TV, newspaper

ALMATY — Kazakhstan yesterday took off the air a television channel and shut a newspaper controlled by President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s son-in-law, stepping up a power struggle within the ruling elite.

The Kazakhstan Today news agency, controlled by son-in-law Rakhat Aliyev, said the authorities had taken the KTK channel off the air and closed the Karavan newspaper for three months.

The government took action a day after Mr. Nazarbayev ordered police to investigate Mr. Aliyev on suspicion of kidnapping two senior bankers.


President urges smaller weddings

DUSHANBE — President Emomalii Rakhmon called yesterday for legislation to limit the size and expense of weddings, birthday parties and funerals, saying the ceremonies have become too expensive and unjustified for the poor former Soviet republic.

Mr. Rakhmon suggested that guests at weddings be restricted to 150; at a funeral, 100; and at a circumcision ceremony, 60. He has banned schoolchildren from using cell phones and wearing Islamic or revealing Western clothes and called for an end to elaborate end-of-school-year parties and urged all Tajiks to drop Russian endings from surnames.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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