- The Washington Times - Monday, November 10, 2008

IRAQ

Female bomber kills child, two adults

BAGHDAD | A female suicide bomber blew herself up at a hospital west of Baghdad on Sunday, killing three people, including a 10-year-old girl, and injuring five others, police and hospital officials said.

Also Sunday, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki met with his Cabinet for the first time since the U.S. delivered what it called its final reply to Iraqi requests for changes to a draft security agreement that would keep U.S. forces in the country until the end of 2011.

Two women and the girl were killed in the suicide attack in Amiriyat al-Fallujah in Anbar province near the city of Fallujah, about 40 miles west of Baghdad, said the officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information to the media. A doctor at the hospital and her husband were among the wounded.

The attack follows a suicide bombing on Saturday that killed eight people and wounded 17 at a police checkpoint near Ramadi, which is also located in Anbar.

The violence comes two months after the U.S. handed over control of the province to the Iraqis and shows that militants have not given up the fight despite setbacks at the hands of U.S. and Iraqi forces.

Anbar, a predominantly Sunni Arab expanse stretching from the western edge of the capital to the borders of Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, was long center stage of the war and a springboard for attacks inside Baghdad.

CHINA

Strong earthquake hits Qinghai province

BEIJING | A strong earthquake measuring a magnitude 6.5 hit a sparsely populated area in China’s western province of Qinghai on Monday, shaking buildings in the remote mining city of Golmud and the regional capital, Xining.

The U.S. Geological Survey originally put the magnitude of the quake at 6.7 but quickly revised it to 6.5. China’s Xinhua news agency put the magnitude of the tremor at 6.3.

Shaking also was felt in Golmud, an industrial city that is dependent upon potassium mining.

The USGS said the epicenter of the quake was 101 miles north-northeast of Golmud at a depth of 6.2 miles.

GERMANY

Rwandan aide to president held

FRANKFURT | Rose Kabuye, a Rwandan woman sought for questioning by a French judge about what sparked her country’s infamous genocide in 1994, was arrested at Frankfurt International Airport on Sunday.

Miss Kabuye is chief of protocol for Rwandan President Paul Kagame. She had accompanied him on a visit to Germany in April but was not detained then because she was under diplomatic immunity.

German Federal Police did not say whether Miss Kabuye was on personal business, from where she was flying or what her destination was when she was arrested.

Lef Forster, Miss Kabuye’s attorney, told the Associated Press in Paris that Miss Kabuye had agreed to be extradited to France, where she was expected to arrive in a few days to be questioned about the attack on the plane of former Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana in April 1994.

Rwanda’s genocide began hours after the plane was mysteriously shot down as it approached the capital, Kigali, on April 6, 1994.

EGYPT

Bin Laden son denied entry

CAIRO | Egypt denied entry to one of Osama bin Laden’s sons on Sunday, becoming the third country to reject the self-proclaimed “ambassador for peace.”

Omar Osama bin Laden, 27, and his British wife arrived at Cairo International Airport over the weekend and were promptly put onto a plane to the Gulf Arab country of Qatar.

Mr. bin Laden was denied entry after he unsuccessfully sought political asylum in Spain, claiming he would not be safe if he returned to an Arab country. The couple had lived in Egypt for the past year. Britain had earlier rejected his asylum request.

One of the al Qaeda leader’s 19 children, Omar Osama bin Laden caused a tabloid storm last year when he married Zaina Alsabah, a British citizen.

Upon arrival in Qatar, Mrs. bin Laden, 52, told the Associated Press that the two were looking to eventually move to bin Laden’s native Saudi Arabia.

EGYPT

Israelis, Palestinians keep up peace talks

SHARM EL SHEIK | Israeli, Palestinian and international negotiators pledged Sunday to continue peace talks launched last year by President Bush, even though the quest for peace will certainly outlast his administration.

But future talks will be held in an increasingly uncertain terrain, with the prospect of a hawk coming to power in Israel’s February parliamentary elections and deeply divided Palestinian factions controlling the West Bank and Gaza. It is also not clear how high Mideast peacemaking will figure on President-elect Barack Obama’s agenda.

Despite the impending failure to meet the year-end target set at a November 2007 peace conference in Annapolis, Israeli and the Palestinian negotiators affirmed their commitment to the process.

The chief negotiators “asked that the international community support the parties’ sustained efforts in the framework of the Annapolis process,” the international diplomatic Quartet of Mideast peacemakers said after several hours of talks at Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm el Sheik.

At the same time, the Quartet - the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and Russia - said in a joint statement that it “emphasized the importance of continuity of the peace process.”

INDONESIA

Security increased after executions

TENGGULUN | Indonesia boosted security Sunday after three Islamic militants were executed for the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people. Emotional supporters thronged ambulances carrying their caskets through narrow streets, some calling for revenge.

Several embassies, including those of the U.S. and Australia, urged their citizens to keep a low profile, saying they could be targeted.

Imam Samudra, 38, and brothers Amrozi Nurhasyim, 47, and Ali Ghufron, 48, were brought before a firing squad near their high-security prison on Nusakambangan island in the middle of the night Sunday, said Jasman Panjaitan, a spokesman for the attorney general’s office.

They refused blindfolds and died instantly, he said.

The Oct. 12, 2002, attacks - reportedly funded by al Qaeda and carried out by members of the Southeast Asian militant group Jemaah Islamiyah - were the first of several suicide bombings in the world’s most populous Muslim nation.

AFGHANISTAN

Freed journalist describes ordeal

KABUL | Mellissa Fung says captors kept her blindfolded for four weeks in an underground cave so low that the Canadian journalist could barely stand. Chains bound her hands and feet during her last week as a prisoner.

Afghan tribal elders and government officials won her safe release late Saturday, 28 days after she was taken from a refugee camp in Kabul while conducting interviews for the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

In a video released Sunday, Miss Fung was seen meeting with Afghanistan’s intelligence chief and Canada’s ambassador. Miss Fung insisted she was fine, but apologized for the situation, despite the fact the refugee camp where she conducted interviews had been visited by many journalists previously and was considered safe to visit.

In the videotape, taken by Afghan intelligence agents, Miss Fung tells Canada’s ambassador that she is not hurt and that she hopes people won’t make “a big fuss” over her situation.

Miss Fung was held captive for a month in a dangerous region of Wardak province overrun by Taliban militants - one province west of Kabul. No officials would say whether Miss Fung was held by the Taliban or a criminal gang, but given the location, Taliban involvement seemed likely.

CONGO

Doctors battle cholera epidemic

KIBATI | Doctors struggled Sunday to contain an outbreak of cholera in a sprawling refugee camp near Congo’s eastern provincial capital of Goma, as renewed fighting ignited fears that patients could scatter and launch an epidemic.

Congolese soldiers and rebels were seen less than 800 yards apart near Goma, where rebel leader Laurent Nkunda declared a cease-fire on Oct. 29 as his forces reached the edge of the city.

Rebels and soldiers clashed Thursday just north of the Kibati refugee camp, seven miles from Goma, and soldiers who retreated last week were digging in Sunday at a new front line.

About 50,000 refugees have crowded around Kibati, some taken into log cabins by villagers, others living in tents or hastily built beehive-shaped huts. Thousands who sleep out in the open huddled under plastic sheeting Sunday as curtains of rain pounded.

Doctors Without Borders said it treated 13 new cases of cholera in Kibati on Sunday and has seen 45 cases since Friday. The agency’s Dr. Rafaela Gentilini said shortages of water and latrines were making the outbreak “really dangerous.”

FRANCE

Obama inspires fight against racism

PARIS | Inspired by Barack Obama, the French first lady and other leading figures say it’s high time for France to stamp out racism and shake up a white political and social elite that smacks of colonial times.

A manifesto published Sunday - subtitled “Oui, nous pouvons,” the French translation of Obama’s campaign slogan “Yes, we can” - urges affirmative action-like policies and other steps to turn French ideals of equality into reality for millions of blacks, Arabs and other alienated minorities.

Nations across Europe rejoiced over Mr. Obama’s victory, seeing it as a triumph for American democracy and a world weary of President Bush. But Mr. Obama’s election also illustrated an uncomfortable truth: how far European countries with big minority populations have to go in getting nonwhites into positions of power.

Grass-roots groups in France and Britain are trying to turn Mr. Obama’s election into electoral gains for minorities at home. Sunday’s manifesto suggests that France’s elites are taking notice, too.

Mr. Obama is extremely popular in France, yet blacks and other minorities are nearly invisible in national or local politics here. The lower house of Parliament has 555 members from the French mainland; just one is black.

IRELAND

Libya cash sent to terror victims

SHANNON | The U.S. said Sunday that it has begun transferring more than $500 billion in Libyan compensation money to the families of American victims of the 1988 Pan Am 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland.

More money is on the way to complete the settlement, but $504 million of $536 million to be distributed was moved from the Treasury to a private account administered by Lockerbie families’ lawyers on Friday, the top U.S. diplomat for the Mideast said.

David Welch said he expected the rest of the Lockerbie payments would be made soon as soon as administrative details were worked out.

The cash comes from a $1.5 billion fund for U.S. victims of Libya-linked terrorism in the 1980s that Libya finished paying into last month.

In addition to paying compensation for the Lockerbie victims, the fund will distribute an additional $283 million to the victims and families of victims of a 1986 attack on a Berlin disco. The remainder will go to settle claims for other deaths, injuries and damage caused by Libyan agents.

GERMANY

Vigil honors victims of Nazi-era pogrom

BERLIN | “We must not be silent” about condemning anti-Semitism, German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared Sunday as Germany and Israel commemorated the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Nazi-incited riots against Jews.

With concerts, prayers and ceremonies, participants vowed to honor Kristallnacht victims with renewed vigilance. The riots are seen by many as the first step leading to the Nazis’ systematic murder of 6 million Jews in the Holocaust.

Mrs. Merkel recalled the Nov. 9, 1938, riots in which more than 91 German Jews were killed and more than 1,000 synagogues damaged, telling Germans that the lessons of the nation’s past were crucial in confronting a current increase in xenophobia and racism.

At Israel’s weekly Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Kristallnacht - which means night of the broken glass - was “the turning point toward the inevitable destruction of a greater portion of the Jewish people in Europe between 1939 and 1945,” adding that Israel “will never forgive or forget” the crimes of the Nazi regime.

Some 30,000 Jewish men and boys were arrested and sent to concentration camps during the pogrom that left the streets of Germany littered with shards of glass from the smashed windows of Jewish homes and shops.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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