- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 30, 2008

CHINA

30 sentenced in Tibet riots

BEIJING — A Chinese court yesterday sentenced 30 people, including six monks, to jail terms ranging from three years to life in prison for their purported roles in deadly riots in the Tibetan capital last month, state media reported.

The Intermediate People’s Court of Lhasa announced the sentences at an open session. The trial was the first since the mid-March riots.

Three men received life sentences, including a Buddhist monk identified as Basang, the official Xinhua news agency said. Basang led 10 people, including five other monks, to destroy local government offices, burn down shops and attack policemen, it said. Of the five other monks, two were sentenced to 20 years and three to 15 years in prison.

China has said 22 people died in the riots, while Tibet’s government-in-exile in India announced yesterday it thinks at least 203 Tibetans were killed.

RUSSIA

More troops sent to Georgia region

MOSCOW — Russia yesterday dispatched extra peacekeeping troops to Georgia’s breakaway Abkhazia region to counter what it said were Georgian plans for an attack, prompting the European Union to accuse it of stoking tensions.

The European Union’s foreign-policy chief, Javier Solana, said after talks in Luxembourg with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that the Russian deployment was unwise.

Russia said the increase was within the limit of 3,000 troops set out in a 1994 cease-fire agreement brokered by the United Nations. But it angered Georgia, which accuses the Russian peacekeepers there of siding with the separatists.

INDIA

Iranian president pushes gas pipeline

NEW DELHI — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad pushed to seal a $7.6 billion pipeline deal linking the world’s second-largest known gas reserves to growing South Asian economies, despite opposition from the United States.

Mr. Ahmadinejad met Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yesterday in a brief stopover trip that has already sparked diplomatic tension between New Delhi and Washington, which fears the pipeline will fund Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

The Iranian leader visited Pakistan on Monday before moving on to Sri Lanka and then India. The pipeline project, which could be completed by 2012, would initially transport 2.2 billion cubic feet of gas daily to Pakistan and India.

HONG KONG

Activists deported before torch arrives

HONG KONG — Three pro-Tibet activists who planned to protest during Hong Kong’s leg of the Olympic torch relay were deported after they arrived at the territory’s airport yesterday, activists said.

It was the second known instance in which activists have been denied entry ahead of the Olympic torch’s arrival in Hong Kong today. The flame’s return to Chinese soil follows a global tour marred by protests against Beijing’s human rights record and its recent crackdown in Tibet.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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