- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 8, 2007


Suicide bomber hits Shi’ite site

BAGHDAD — A suicide car bomber sent a fireball through a crowded market yesterday in the Shi’ite holy city of Kufa, killing at least 16 persons and threatening to further stoke sectarian tensions in relatively peaceful areas south of Baghdad.

Kufa, 100 miles south of Baghdad, is a stronghold of the Mahdi Army militia, which is loyal to radical Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. U.S. officials have expressed fears that Sunni insurgents led by al Qaeda are carefully picking their targets to provoke retaliatory violence to derail efforts to stabilize the country.

The blast sent flames through a nearby two-story kebab restaurant, charring the interior. Angry residents demanded better protection and accused authorities of fortifying their own homes and offices at the expense of the public.


Sinking of boat called intentional

PORT-AU-PRINCE — Haitian emigrants claim a Turks and Caicos naval vessel rammed their crowded sailboat twice before it capsized last week, killing more than 60 people, a senior Haitian official said yesterday.

Jeanne Bernard Pierre, the director-general of Haiti’s National Migration Office, said the emigrants’ account had not been confirmed but that Haiti would consider it “criminal” if found to be true.

“The survivors say the accident wasn’t an accident, it was provoked,” he said.


China, Russia flouted arms ban, report says

KHARTOUM — Amnesty International accused China and Russia yesterday of breaking a U.N. arms embargo on Darfur by letting weapons into Sudan.

China, the biggest foreign investor in Sudan, dismissed the accusations, as did Russia.

Amnesty said the weapons were often diverted to be used in conflict in Darfur and neighboring Chad.


Quebec party leader quits after vote loss

OTTAWA — Andre Boisclair, the leader of Canada’s separatist Parti Quebecois, said yesterday he was resigning with immediate effect in the wake of a heavy election loss that had triggered unrest within his party.

Mr. Boisclair, 41, was elected leader in late 2005.


Rights activist freed after confession

TASHKENT — An Uzbek court freed a rights activist and suspended her seven-year jail sentence yesterday after she confessed to all the charges against her and criticized international rights groups from a cage in the courtroom.

The U.S. had criticized the jail term handed down last week to Umida Niyazova, who worked as a translator for New York-based Human Rights Watch.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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