- The Washington Times - Monday, February 4, 2008

IRAQ

New law allows rehiring of Ba’athists

BAGHDAD — Thousands of former members of Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath Party are to get their old jobs back under a new law announced yesterday, a move Washington sees as vital to the country’s stability.

Parliament passed the Accountability and Justice Law last month, winning U.S. praise for helping promote reconciliation between majority Shi’ites and minority Sunni Arabs who were dominant under Saddam.

The law affects tens of thousands of Ba’ath Party members, many of them Sunni Arabs, who were fired from government jobs after Saddam was toppled by the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, fueling a long-running insurgency against Iraq’s new Shi’ite rulers and U.S. forces. Washington introduced “de-Ba’athification” under U.S. administrators in Iraq, but acknowledged that it went too far.

SRI LANKA

At least 11 killed in suicide bombing

COLOMBO — A female suicide bomber attacked the main railway station here yesterday, killing at least 11 and wounding 92 others, officials said.

Military spokesman Brig. Udaya Nanayakkara blamed the attack on the separatist Tamil Tiger rebels.

The attacks took place as the government prepared for celebrations to mark the 60th anniversary of independence from Britain today.

RWANDA

Earthquakes kill 26; hundreds hurt

KIGALI — Two earthquakes struck in Rwanda and neighboring Congo yesterday, killing at least 26 persons and injuring hundreds of others, officials said.

The first, a magnitude-6.0 quake, struck Congo early yesterday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The second quake, which registered 5.0, hit a few hours later near the countries’ border, in Rwanda’s rural Rusizi district.

“At least 21 are dead,” said Frank Mugambage, an official in the Rwandan president’s office.

Across the border in the Congolese lakeside city of Bukavu, Mayor Raisi Kunda said five persons were killed and 149 wounded there.

SOMALIA

Roadside bomb kills eight in minibus

MOGADISHU — A roadside bomb exploded near a packed minibus yesterday, killing eight civilians and wounding nine others in the war-ravaged Somali capital, witnesses and hospital staff said.

Hussein Ali, a resident of Wabari district in southern Mogadishu, said he saw eight bodies in the minibus.

Fadumo Dahir, a nurse at Medina hospital, said nine persons had been admitted after the blast, two in critical condition.

PAKISTAN

Blast kills 3, injures 10

RAWALPINDI — A suicide bomber attacked a Pakistani military minibus in Rawalpindi today, killing at least three persons and wounding about 10, military officials said.

Violence has intensified in Pakistan in recent months with the army battling militants in the northwest and suicide bomb attacks in towns and cities, raising concern about prospects for the nuclear-armed country in the run-up to Feb. 18 parliamentary elections.

The bomb went off during the morning rush hour outside the army’s National Logistics Cell in the city, where the army has its headquarters.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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