- The Washington Times - Monday, April 13, 2009


Quake creates somber Easter

L'AQUILA | Thousands of people made homeless by Italy's deadliest earthquake in 30 years celebrated a somber Easter on Sunday, huddling for Mass at makeshift chapels set up in tent cities and emergency shelters.

Six days after disaster struck the central city of L'Aquila and 26 surrounding towns and killed 294 people, survivors prayed for the dead and sought comfort in religion to help them rebuild shattered lives.

“It's Easter for us, too, despite the tragedy and the rubble of the earthquake,” L'Aquila Archbishop Giuseppe Molinari told hundreds of faithful gathered for Mass under a plastic tent at the main homeless camp outside the devastated city center.

“The resurrection of Christ is also the resurrection of L'Aquila,” he said as people struggled to hold back tears.

About 40,000 people lost their homes in the 6.3-magnitude earthquake, which hit the Abruzzo region in the early hours of last Monday, catching residents in their sleep.


IRA dissidents threaten leader

DUBLIN | Irish Republican Army dissidents threatened Sunday to kill top Sinn Fein politician Martin McGuinness and resume attacks in England as part of their efforts to wreck the IRA cease-fire and Northern Ireland power-sharing.

An Easter statement from the outlawed Real IRA distributed to Irish media branded Mr. McGuinness a traitor because he holds the top Irish Catholic post in Northern Ireland's power-sharing government with British Protestants.

The statement warned Mr. McGuinness - a former IRA commander - that “no traitor will escape justice regardless of time, rank or past actions. The republican movement has a long memory.”

Mr. McGuinness offered no response. He previously has appealed to the public to tell police about dissident IRA activities and said extremist threats won't deflect him from cooperating with Protestant past enemies.


Cash flow fuels drug trade

Stopping the flow of money and weapons from the United States into Mexico is critical to dealing with the violent drug cartels creating havoc on the border, the Mexican ambassador to the United States said Sunday.

Mexican officials believe that 90 percent of the weapons seized there can be traced to the United States, Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan said.

“The key issue right now is how can the United States help to shut down those guns and shut down that bulk cash that is providing the drug syndicates in Mexico with the wherewithal to corrupt, to bribe, to kill,” Mr. Sarukhan said on CBS' “Face the Nation.”

Mexican President Felipe Calderon began a national crackdown on organized crime in 2006. Since then, violence among the drug cartels, their rivals and troops have led to nearly 9,000 deaths and crime, which has spilled across the border into the United States.


Militants attack U.S. supply route

PESHAWAR | About 150 militants armed with rockets and automatic weapons attacked a transport terminal in northwestern Pakistan that lies along a key supply route used by U.S. and NATO troops, wounding three guards and torching eight cement trucks Sunday, police said.

Militants in Pakistan frequently attack cargo terminals and other stops used by vehicles taking supplies to Western troops in Afghanistan through the legendary Khyber Pass.

Scores of trucks have been damaged and several people have died, adding urgency to U.S. efforts to find safer supply routes.


Ex-president says family took money

SEOUL | South Korean prosecutors have questioned the wife of former President Roh Moo-hyun on suspicion of accepting $1 million from a detained businessman at the center of a high-profile corruption scandal, an official said Sunday.

Prosecutors quizzed Kwon Yang-sook on Saturday to determine whether she received the money from Park Yeon-cha, head of a local shoe manufacturer, via a former presidential aide in 2007, according to a prosecution spokesman.

On Sunday, prosecutors also summoned Mr. Roh's only son - Roh Gun-ho - to investigate whether he used some of the $1 million for living expenses in the United States, spokesman Cho Eun-suk said.

Mr. Roh, who stepped down as president early last year, offered a public apology last week and admitted that his “house” took money from Mr. Park. He said he would cooperate in an investigation.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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