- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 24, 2008


Rebels, army clash, dozens killed

COLOMBO — Tamil rebels and government troops waged a fierce battle in northern Sri Lanka yesterday, killing 52 guerrillas and 38 soldiers in one of the deadliest clashes this year between the two sides, the military said.

The battle broke out early in the day, when rebel forces overran the front lines in the Muhamalai area of the Jaffna peninsula, north of the de facto rebel state, a military spokesman said.

The casualties marked one of the highest daily death tolls for soldiers in the recent round of fighting, which began more than two years ago.


Amnesty claims killings in mosque

NAIROBI — Amnesty International yesterday accused Ethiopian soldiers of killing 21 people, including an imam and several Islamic scholars, at a Mogadishu mosque and said seven of the victims had their throats slit.

The rights group said the soldiers had also captured dozens of children during the raid on the Al Hidaaya mosque in the north of the Somali capital earlier this week during operations against Islamist insurgents.

Ethiopia has thousands of soldiers in Somalia to bolster a Western-backed government against rebels fighting an Iraq-style insurgency in the Horn of Africa nation.


Red-faced Blair wins free ride

LONDON — Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was left red-faced when he was caught traveling on a train without a ticket and said he had no cash to pay the fare, the Daily Mail newspaper reported yesterday.

Mr. Blair, who has earned about $1 million on the speaking circuit since leaving office in June, was confronted by a ticket inspector as he traveled to Heathrow Airport to catch a flight to the United States on Monday. He said he had no cash for the 24.50 pounds ($48.50) fare because money an aide had given him was no longer in his pocket.


Lawmakers eye ban on toy guns

BAGHDAD — Iraqi lawmakers, alarmed at the exceptional levels of violence children are exposed to daily, are about to pass a bill to ban the import of toy guns, a member of Iraq’s parliament said yesterday.

“Our children see too much violence on TV, they have it on their video games, they hear their parents talk about violence every day. It is rampant in the streets,” parliamentary committee on women and children Chairwoman Samira al-Mussawi told Agence France-Presse.


Anne Frank postcard discovered

AMSTERDAM — A Dutch school director preparing an exhibition on Anne Frank has found a holiday postcard signed by the Jewish teenage diarist, a museum said yesterday.

The card, sent in 1937, was addressed to one of Anne’s best friends, Samme Ledermann, and postmarked from just across the Dutch border in Aachen, Germany, said Maatje Mostard, of the Anne Frank Museum.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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