- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 28, 2008


3 sisters killed in rocket attack

KABUL | A rare rocket attack in the Afghan capital Saturday night demolished two rooms of a mud-brick home and killed three teenage sisters, the family and police said.

The rocket attack on the southern end of Kabul landed on a house adjacent to an Afghan police training center. The attack crushed a house and killed three sisters, ages 13, 15 and 16, said the girls’ uncle.

Gen. Ali Shah Paktiawal, the head of criminal investigations for Kabul police, said two rockets were fired into the city after nightfall Saturday.

Police did not say who was believed responsible for the attack, though the rockets were likely fired from the western end of Kabul, Gen. Paktiawal said, near neighboring Wardak province, which has seen an influx of militants in the past year.


Prime minister post remains unfilled

BRUSSELS | Belgium’s political deadlock remained unresolved Saturday, with the man seen as the favorite to become prime minister reportedly resisting the post after the previous government collapsed.

While Belgian media had earlier named the speaker of the lower house of parliament, Herman van Rompuy, as favorite to become prime minister, RTBF television reported that he was uninterested despite his party’s promptings.

Former Prime Minister Wilfried Martens has been tasked with ending a deadlock in talks on restoring Belgium’s political order after Yves Leterme’s government collapsed under accusations of seeking to influence a court ruling linked to the break-up of banking giant Fortis.

Mr. Martens met with the king again Saturday afternoon, a palace statement said. There had been speculation that King Albert II would announce a new prime minister-designate Saturday.


Volunteers rescue abandoned horses

MCBRIDE | Two frostbitten, emaciated horses were recovering inside a warm barn Saturday, thanks to volunteers who spent the week before Christmas digging the animals out of snow in the mountains of northeastern British Columbia.

The horses had been abandoned by a hunter and faced almost certain death. About 50 people took part in the animal rescue, digging a half-mile escape route through 6-foot-deep snow over the course of a week.

The horses were discovered Dec. 15 by two local men. They were above the tree line and had no shelter at first.

The two men stumbled across the horses while out looking for some snowmobiles, which were left behind by tourists who had gotten stuck during a trip to the back country on the side of Mount Renshaw - about 750 miles northeast of Vancouver.


Jailed beauty queen forfeits her title

MEXICO CITY | A Mexican beauty queen detained on suspicion of drug and weapons violations has been stripped of her crown in the Hispanoamerican Queen pageant, contest organizers said Saturday.

Laura Zuniga, 23, was stripped of first-place honors for “failure to comply with the regulations of the title she represents,” Bolivia-based pageant organizing company Gloria Promociones said. Miss Zuniga beat more than 19 contestants from Latin America, the Caribbean and the United States to win the title in October.

Runner-up Vivian Noronha of Brazil will receive the crown.

A company statement did not specify which pageant rules were broken by Miss Zuniga, who was detained in western Mexico on Dec. 22 along with seven men, some of them suspected drug traffickers. Authorities found a large stash of weapons, ammunition and $53,300 in cash with them inside a vehicle.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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