- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 20, 2008

SOMALIA

At least 18 killed in Mogadishu fighting

MOGADISHU — At least 18 people, many of them civilians, were killed yesterday in heavy fighting between Ethiopian forces and Islamist insurgents in the Somali capital, witnesses said.

The clashes in the northern Mogadishu districts killed 11 civilians, five militants and two Ethiopian forces in the latest in a series of violent incidents that have convulsed the seaside city, they said.

Ethiopian troops moved into the northern Huriwa neighborhood yesterday but encountered tough resistance from the insurgents, sparking heavy exchanges of fire and trapping civilians in the crossfire.

PAKISTAN

Government will not impeach Musharraf

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s new government is avoiding a showdown with President Pervez Musharraf because it lacks the support needed to impeach him, the head of the ruling coalition’s leading party said in remarks released yesterday.

But Asif Ali Zardari, the widower of slain former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, did not rule out confronting the unpopular former army strongman if the new government manages to muster the necessary two-thirds parliament majority in the future.

“For the sake of the country, we don’t want confrontation. But this doesn’t mean we accept him [Musharraf]. If we get the two-thirds majority, we will think about making him accountable,” Mr. Zardari told the British Broadcasting Corp.’s Urdu language service.

GERMANY

German held by U.S. in Afghanistan

BERLIN — U.S. authorities in Afghanistan have been holding a German citizen in custody since early January over accusations that he was on a U.S. base without authorization, Germany’s Foreign Ministry said yesterday.

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is in contact with U.S. authorities on the issue and is working to secure the release of the German, a man of Afghan origin.

The weekly Der Spiegel reported that the man, whom it identified as 41-year-old Gholam Ghaus Z., had traveled to Kabul to visit relatives and was arrested as he tried to buy a razor at a U.S. military supermarket.

TAIWAN

U.S. plans posting Marines at mission

TAIPEI — The United States may post Marines at its unofficial embassy in Taiwan — a small but symbolically significant change in its delicate political relationship with the self-ruled island.

A State Department advertisement in the English-language Taipei Times newspaper called for contractors to construct quarters for Marines at a new U.S. compound in the capital, Taipei.

Since the U.S. switched its recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979, there have been no Marine guards at its Taipei facility — the American Institute in Taiwan — in keeping with its deliberately low political profile. It is customary for the U.S. to put Marine guards in its embassies and consulates worldwide.

BRITAIN

Titanic ticket auctioned

LONDON — A ticket for the Titanic’s ill-fated voyage that belonged to the last survivor with memories of the disaster sold to a collector from the United States at a British auction yesterday.

Lillian Asplund, who died in 2006 at the age of 99, was 5 years old when the Titanic hit an iceberg and sank during its maiden voyage from England to New York. Her father and three siblings were among the 1,500 people who died.

She was the last American survivor who still had memories of the disaster. Others had been too young at the time of the sinking to recall their experience.

Ms. Asplund’s ticket sold for $65,772 auctioneer Andrew Aldridge said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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