- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 26, 2008


Bomb hidden in bus kills 24

COLOMBO — A bomb hidden on the baggage rack of a packed, rush-hour bus exploded yesterday evening outside Colombo, killing 24 people in an attack that the military blamed on Tamil Tiger rebels. Among the dead were a Buddhist monk and a small child.

The bomb exploded about 6:45 p.m. at the bus depot in the town of Piliyandala, just south of the capital, witnesses said. The red public bus was about to depart for the nearby town of Kahapola.


Car bomb kills 3 in northwest

PESHAWAR — A car bomb killed three people in northwestern Pakistan yesterday, despite calls from Taliban leaders asking Islamist militants to refrain from attacks during efforts by the new government to reach peace deals in the region.

A spokesman for Pakistani Taliban militants claimed responsibility for the blast but said it did not damage their commitment to peace negotiations opened by the government.

It was the first major bombing since Pakistan’s new government took office and pledged to scale back military operations against militants. The last deadly blast was a suicide attack that killed five soldiers in the South Waziristan region on March 20.


Georgia threatened with use of force

MOSCOW — Russia warned yesterday it could use military force to protect its “compatriots” in Georgia’s breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia if they were attacked.

Russia’s ties with Georgia have been strained for more than a decade by Moscow’s support of the two breakaway regions, which threw off Georgian rule after wars in the 1990s and where most of the population has been issued Russian passports.


Maoists lead tally as vote count ends

KATMANDU — Nepal’s Maoist former rebels won 220 seats in the 601-member special assembly, making them the single largest party, the Election Commission said yesterday.

The election crowns a 2006 peace deal ending a 10-year-long Maoist insurgency that killed some 13,000 people in one of the world’s poorest countries.

The new assembly will write a new constitution and abolish Nepal’s 240-year-old monarchy.


2 soldiers killed in PKK clashes

DIYARBAKIR — Two Turkish soldiers were killed yesterday during fighting with Kurdish separatists in mountainous southeast Turkey, the General Staff said.

One was a major and the other an enlisted soldier, military sources had said earlier, adding the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, also suffered casualties in the two-day firefight in Sirnak province near the border with Iraq.


Runoff vote held for parliament

TEHRAN — Iranians voted yesterday in a runoff parliamentary election expected to leave conservatives still firmly in control after many moderates were disqualified in the first round.

Polling stations closed at 9 p.m., three hours after the scheduled closing time, state television said. Such extensions are common in Iranian elections to allow more voters to cast ballots.

Conservatives won a majority of seats in the 290-member parliament in the first round of the election in March, but in some places no candidate secured enough votes to win — hence the runoff.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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