- The Washington Times - Friday, February 29, 2008

AFGHANISTAN

29 militants killed in clashes, bombing

KANDAHAR — Militants ambushed an opium-poppy eradication force in southern Afghanistan, sparking clashes that left 25 Taliban fighters and a policeman dead, police said yesterday. Four other militants died when a bomb went off.

Insurgents ambushed the drug-eradication force Wednesday in Marja district of Helmand province, killing one police officer and wounding two, said Gen. Mohammad Hussein Andiwal, the provincial police chief.

Helmand, a front line between militants and foreign forces, is the world’s largest opium-producing region. Officials estimate that up to 40 percent of proceeds from Afghanistan’s drug trade — an amount worth tens of millions of dollars — is used to fund the insurgency.

CHINA

Tiananmen Mothers join Olympic protests

BEIJING — Mothers of those killed in China’s 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protests joined the list of groups invoking this summer’s Beijing Olympics to draw attention to their causes.

In an open letter released yesterday, the Tiananmen Mothers warned the games would be dogged by lingering guilt and mistrust unless China confronts the truth about the crackdown.

BANGLADESH

At least 30 die as ferry capsizes

PAGLA — A ferry carrying more than 100 people collided with a cargo vessel and capsized in a river near the Bangladesh capital, Dhaka, yesterday, killing at least 30 persons, authorities said.

The death toll could rise because many passengers are thought to be trapped inside the sunken craft. Rescuers recovered 30 bodies after the wooden ferry MV Saurav sank in Buriganga River.

Weekly notes …

A newborn girl fell through the toilet in a moving train in the western Indian state of Gujarat and onto the tracks moments after her mother gave birth prematurely. The baby was found alive on the tracks two hours later, relatives said yesterday. … A fisherman made a 12-hour marathon swim to shore after a fishing trawler sank off Australia’s eastern coast Wednesday. Another man was later rescued after 30 hours in the sea, while authorities searched yesterday for a third person. Michael Williams, 39, is recovering in a hospital in the town of Mullumbimby, in New South Wales.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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