- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 16, 2008


Army depot blast kills 5, injures 215

TIRANA — A massive explosion yesterday at an Albanian army ammunition dump killed at least five persons and injured 215, including many children, authorities said. The prime minister said he feared there could be many dead.

The initial blast at the depot at Gerdec village, about six miles north of the capital, Tirana, set off a series of explosions, and ammunition continued to detonate into the night. The blast was heard as far away as the Macedonian capital of Skopje, a distance of 120 miles, and prompted a brief suspension of flights at Tirana’s nearby international airport, which was slightly damaged.


Israeli air strikes kill 3 militants

GAZA CITY — Israeli air strikes killed three Palestinian militants and wounded six yesterday, Palestinian medical and security officials said. They said the dead and wounded were all members of the Islamic Jihad group, hit in three separate raids in central and northern Gaza.

The Israeli military confirmed two strikes, in which it said five armed men preparing to launch rockets at Israeli targets were hit. Earlier, the military said, three Palestinian rockets fell in Israel but there were no reported casualties.


Three convicted in reporter’s killing

KIEV — A Ukrainian court convicted three former policemen yesterday for the killing in 2000 of an investigative journalist and prominent critic of then president Leonid Kuchma.

Georgy Gongadze, a Georgian working in Ukraine, wrote of political corruption and criminality at a time when the authorities in the former Soviet state kept a tight grip over the media. His headless corpse was discovered in woods near Kiev two months after he disappeared in September 2000. His head was never found.


Bomb near hotel kills 2 in south

PATTANI — A bomb exploded in the parking lot of an upscale hotel in Thailand’s restive south yesterday, killing two persons and wounding 14, police said.

The blast shattered windows as high as the eighth floor of the C.S. Pattani Hotel, the largest hotel in Thailand’s southern provinces, where a Muslim insurgency has been under way since 2004.


Pope hails Knights of Columbus founder

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI yesterday set the founder of the Knights of Columbus, one of the world’s largest lay Catholic groups, on the path to possible beatification and sainthood, the Vatican said.

The pope recognized the “heroic virtues” of the Rev. Michael J. McGivney, who in 1882 created a fraternal society for Catholic men who suffered discrimination because of their religion and immigrant origins.

Father McGivney was a 29-year-old assistant pastor at St. Mary’s Church in New Haven, Conn., when he founded the group, which now has 1.7 million members and in 2006 collected nearly $144 million in contributions for charity. He was born in 1852 to Irish immigrants in Waterbury, north of New Haven. He died of pneumonia at age 38.


4 Belgian tourists taken hostage

RIO DULCE — Authorities were negotiating yesterday for the release of four Belgians, their Guatemalan guide and a boat operator who were taken hostage by farmers demanding freedom for their imprisoned leader.

The Belgians — two women and two men — were taken captive Friday in Rio Dulce, a tourist area 155 miles northeast of Guatemala City.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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