- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 19, 2008

AFGHANISTAN

Marine deployment begins in south

KABUL — Some of the 3,200 U.S. Marines slated for a seven-month deployment to Afghanistan’s volatile south have begun arriving at the region’s largest base following a call from Canada for more troops there.

About 2,300 troops from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, based at Camp Lejeune, N.C., will be based in Kandahar, the Taliban’s former power base. A majority of those Marines arrived in the past several days.

Canada has 2,500 troops in Kandahar province but has threatened to end its combat role in Afghanistan unless other NATO countries provide an additional 1,000 troops to help the anti-Taliban effort there.

YEMEN

School shelled near U.S. embassy

SAN’A — Two mortar shells exploded yesterday by a high school next to the U.S. embassy, killing a Yemeni guard and wounding three students and three other guards, an Interior Ministry official said.

Troops sealed off roads and prevented journalists from coming closer to the school, which is attended mostly by Yemeni students.

KOSOVO

NATO declares military rule

MITROVICA — NATO placed the Kosovo town of Mitrovica under de facto military law yesterday after riots by a hostile Serbian population killed one U.N. policeman and forced the pullout of U.N. personnel.

The NATO-led peacekeeping force KFOR and the United Nations mission ordered all local Kosovo Serbian police officers to park their patrol cars and suspend normal duties.

With U.N. police withdrawn, the order left French, Belgian and Spanish troops in control of law and order in the northern slice of Kosovo, where Serbs opposed to its Feb. 17 secession from Serbia dominate the population.

SRI LANKA

Science fiction writer Clarke dies at 90

COLOMBO — Arthur C. Clarke, a visionary science fiction writer who won worldwide acclaim with more than 100 books on space, science and the future, died today in his adopted home of Sri Lanka, an aide said. He was 90.

Mr. Clarke, who had battled debilitating post-polio syndrome since the 1960s, died after suffering breathing problems, aide Rohan De Silva said.

Co-author with Stanley Kubrick of Mr. Kubrick’s film “2001: A Space Odyssey,” Mr. Clarke was credited with the concept of communications satellites in 1945, decades before they became a reality.

PAKISTAN

Woman nominated parliament speaker

ISLAMABAD — The party of slain Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto yesterday nominated a close associate of her widower to be parliament’s first female speaker, but divisions remained over who should be the next prime minister.

Fahmida Mirza, a businesswoman and lawmaker, would become the first female speaker of the National Assembly if approved.

RUSSIA

No accord yet on missile plan

MOSCOW — Russia and the United States yesterday failed to agree on U.S. plans to deploy parts of a missile-defense shield in Eastern Europe, an issue that has helped drive their relations to a post-Cold War low.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said he agreed with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at talks in Moscow to study U.S. proposals aimed at allaying Russian concerns about the shield.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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