- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 22, 2009


Lawmakers seek security review

BAGHDAD | Senior Iraqi officials on Friday recommended a review of security leadership, better coordination on intelligence and firmer treatment of detainees as anger mounted over truck bombings against key government institutions that have killed more than 100 people.

Lawmakers also called for an emergency session of parliament next week to address the security concerns, the deputy parliament speaker said.

A bombing that killed at least two people and wounded 20 Friday at a vegetable market in southern Baghdad exposed more lapses in security after the truck used in the attack passed through an Iraqi police checkpoint without being searched, police said.

Wednesday’s blasts primarily targeted government buildings, including the foreign and finance ministries, killing at least 101 people and wounding more than 500.


Swine flu found in birds

SANTIAGO | Chile said Friday that tests show swine flu has jumped to birds, opening a new chapter in the global epidemic.

Top flu and animal-health experts with the United Nations in Rome and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta were monitoring the situation closely, but said the infected turkeys have suffered only mild effects, easing concern about a potentially dangerous development.

Chile’s turkey meat remains safe to eat, they said, and so far there have been no signs of a potentially dangerous mutation.


Three charged in jewel heist

LONDON | Two men accused in an audacious jewel heist in London appeared in court Friday as police charged a third in the $66 million robbery.

The pair - 26-year-old Solomun Beyene of London and 26-year-old Craig Calderwood, of no fixed address - were ordered held until Sept. 1. Later Friday, police announced they had charged a third man with conspiracy. Clinton Mogg, 42, of Bournemouth in southern England, is scheduled to appear in court Saturday.

The Aug. 6 robbery at Graff Diamonds in the upscale Mayfair neighborhood grabbed headlines in Britain and drew comparisons with movie plots.


Suicide attacks kill 5 in Chechnya

GROZNY | Suicide bombers on bicycles detonated explosives in Chechnya on Friday, killing at least four police officers and a civilian in coordinated attacks in the capital, officials said.

While large-scale battles ended years ago in predominantly Muslim Chechnya, which has been ravaged by two separatist wars since 1994, Islamic militants have continued daily hit-and-run raids against police and other authorities, and the violence has increasingly spilled into neighboring provinces.

Friday’s violence followed Monday’s suicide bombing at a police station in neighboring Ingushetia that killed 25 people and injured more than 160 in the deadliest attack in the volatile North Caucasus region in years.


Suspected leader of terror group held

MANILA | Philippine police on Friday arrested the suspected leader of a radical Islamist group believed to be responsible for one of Southeast Asia’s deadliest terror attacks.

Dinno-Amor Rosalejos Pareja, also known as Khalil Pareja, was taken into custody in southern Marawi City and was being held without bail, police said.

Pareja is purportedly the leader of the Rajah Solaiman Movement, a group of Christian converts to Islam that U.S. and Philippine officials say is allied with two al Qaeda-linked groups - the regional terror network Jemaah Islamiyah and the Abu Sayyaf, a Muslim extremist group based in the southern Philippines.

The group is believed to be behind the 2004 ferry bombing that killed 116 people in Manila Bay.


Cast removed from pope’s wrist

VATICAN CITY | Doctors on Friday removed Pope Benedict XVI’s cast five weeks after he broke his right wrist in a fall and said they were pleased with how the fracture has healed.

The cast was taken off, and an X-ray was taken at the clinic of the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, a hill town southeast of Rome.

Benedict, 82, has been staying in the papal palace there since returning in late July from the Alps, where he fractured the wrist on July 17.

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