- The Washington Times - Monday, April 28, 2008

CHINA

Scores hurt, killed in crash of trains

BEIJING — Dozens were injured or killed in a collision of two passenger trains in eastern China today, the official Xinhua news agency cited a medical worker at the scene as saying.

Witnesses and a government spokesman also said there were heavy casualties in the collision in the eastern province of Shandong, which caused 10 rail cars to topple into a ditch, Xinhua reported.

“More than 80 people are injured, both seriously and not as seriously,” a hospital official in Zhoucun district told Reuters.

One train, en route from Beijing to the eastern city of Qingdao, hit another in Zibo, in Shandong province, in the early hours, a spokesman with the Shandong provincial government was quoted as saying.

The second train was traveling between Yantai, in Shandong, and Xuzhou in the neighboring province of Jiangsu.

In January, a high-speed train rammeda group of maintenance workers in the dark in Shandong, killing 18 in China’s worst railway accident in years.

SRI LANKA

Rebel aircraft bomb army post

COLOMBO— Separatist rebels used light aircraft to bomb an army defense line in Sri Lanka’s war-torn north early yesterday, hours after fierce clashes killed 42 combatants, the military said.

Military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara said the Tamil Tiger plane dropped three bombs near Sri Lankan forces in the Welioya region, but that no soldiers were hurt.

Rebel spokesman Rasiah Ilanthirayan was not immediately available for comment.

ZIMBABWE

Election results coming from media

HARARE — A recount of disputed legislative seats has confirmed opposition’s control of parliament and should be complete yesterday, allowing the release of results from last month’s presidential election, state media reported.

The Sunday Mail newspaper, a government mouthpiece, said the state Electoral Commission planned to invite President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai to a final “verification and collation exercise” today.

The opposition and an independent Zimbabwean observer group say that Mr. Tsvangirai won the presidential race, and Mr. Mugabe has been accused of using delays, fraud, violence and torture to hold onto power.

CUBA

Retirees, others getting raises

HAVANA — Cuba is giving raises to retirees on state pensions and court employees and says salary increases for more government employees are on the way.

Cuban retirees will receive pension increases of just under $2 a month starting next month. Minimum pensions will rise to $9.50 a month.

Justice system employees will get raises worth $10 a month, with judges and prosecutors receiving raises roughly double that. The sector’s median monthly salary will rise to $26.60.

WEST BANK

Bank links blockade, Palestinian economy

RAMALLAH — The Palestinian economy won’t grow this year, largely because of Israeli restrictions on movement and despite billions of dollars in aid meant to shore up support for peace talks, the World Bank predicted yesterday.

The bleak prognosis stands in contrast to the bank’s initial assessment that double-digit economic growth would be possible if Israel, the Palestinian government and the donors did their part.

IRAQ

Museum gets back 701 stolen artifacts

BAGHDAD — The Iraqi National Museum is welcoming home 701 artifacts stolen during the looting after Saddam Hussein’s ouster in 2003.

Syrian authorities turned over items ranging from golden necklaces to clay pots that were seized by traffickers in the neighboring country.

Iraqi officials say Syria is the first country to hand over a large quantity of stolen antiquities.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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