- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 15, 2008

CONGO

U.N. hands out food behind rebel lines

KIWANJA | Thousands of hungry and homeless lined up for food Friday deep in rebel-held territory in eastern Congo as the U.N. began its first large-scale delivery in the area since fighting broke out in late October.

More than 100 tons of food were going to 50,000 civilians in the area north of the provincial capital of Goma over the next four days, a U.N. World Food Program spokesman said.

Fighting between the army and fighters loyal to rebel leader Laurent Nkunda has displaced at least 250,000 people despite the presence of the largest U.N. peacekeeping force in the world - about 17,000 troops.

INDIA

Lunar probe lands, sends back images

NEW DELHI | The first lunar probe from India landed successfully on the moon Friday as part of a two-year mission aimed at laying the groundwork for further Indian space expeditions.

Indian Space Research Organization Chairman G. Madhavan Nair said cameras on board have been transmitting images of the moon back to Indian space control.

The Moon Impact Probe was one of the 11 payloads of Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft launched Oct. 22. Chief among the unmanned lunar mission’s goals is mapping not only the surface of the moon, but what lies beneath.

If successful, India will join what is shaping up to be a 21st-century space race with Chinese and Japanese crafts already in orbit around the moon. Until Friday, only the U.S., Russia, the European Space Agency, Japan and China had sent missions to the moon.

YEMEN

Al Qaeda claims embassy attack

CAIRO | A group that monitors extremist Web sites says al Qaeda’s branch in Yemen has taken responsibility for a deadly suicide bombing outside the U.S. Embassy there in September.

Thirteen people died in the attack, including an 18-year-old American woman of Yemeni origin.

The SITE Intelligence Group said Friday the statement in an al Qaeda electronic magazine includes an account of how the car-bomb attack was carried out. It also gives the names of the seven men involved, including a spiritual leader and six of his students who carried out the attack.

ETHIOPIA

U.S. warns of terror at long-distance race

NAIROBI, Kenya | The U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia has warned American citizens against taking part in the Great Ethiopian Run because of the threat of terrorism.

Friday’s message says embassy staff and their families should not to take part in the 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) race set for Nov. 23. The message followed an unspecified terror warning from the Ethiopian government about the race featuring tens of thousands of runners from Ethiopia and around the world. The race is led by distance great Haile Gebrselassie.

BRITAIN

Court denies release for Lockerbie bomber

EDINBURGH, Scotland | A court refused Friday to release from prison a cancer-stricken Libyan man convicted of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over the Scottish town of Lockerbie.

The Court of Criminal Appeal in Scotland acknowledged that Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi’s prostate cancer was incurable, but it said he could not be freed on bail pending an appeal of his life sentence for the bombing that killed 270 people, most of them American.

Al-Megrahi, 56, and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah were prosecuted in The Hague in 2001 for the bombing. Mr. Fhimah was acquitted.

MEXICO

Turbulence cited for plane crash

MEXICO CITY | Turbulence from a nearby aircraft, and not mechanical failure or sabotage, appeared to be the cause of a plane crash last week that killed Mexico’s interior minister, the government said Friday.

A cockpit recording of the last few seconds of the flight showed the pilots realized they had hit a wave of turbulence just before the government Learjet plummeted and crashed, killing all nine people on board and five on the ground.

Transport and Communications Minister Luis Tellez said the jet had been flying too close to a much bigger Boeing 767 ahead of it on the flight path to land at Mexico City airport.

Mexico’s history of political assassinations and spiraling drug cartel violence had stoked speculation that foul play had led to the crash that killed President Felipe Calderon’s right-hand man and interior minister, Juan Camilo Mourino, along with his top drug war adviser.

INDIA

Maoists attack to scare voters

RAIPUR | Suspected Maoist insurgents triggered land-mine blasts and opened fire to scare away voters in elections in a central Indian state Friday, killing a policeman and an air force official.

Voting in some rural areas came to a halt, and armed rebels blocked roads and snatched electronic voting machines in the Bastar district of Chhattisgarh state, a hotbed of Maoist activism. India began a monthlong period of state elections Friday, a precursor to the general election in early 2009.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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