- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 5, 2009


U.S. chides Nairobi ahead of visit

NAIROBI | The U.S. strongly criticized Kenya on Tuesday just hours before Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton arrived, saying the country should form an independent tribunal after last year’s post-election violence.

The U.S. said Kenya’s decision to instead use discredited local courts to try the suspects behind the violence that left more than 1,000 people dead will call into question whether there is any will to carry out reforms.

“The United States will stand firmly behind the Kenyan people as they insist on full implementation of the reform agenda,” said the statement released through the U.S. Embassy here. “We will take the necessary steps to hold accountable those who do not support the reform agenda or who support violence.”

Mrs. Clinton is on an 11-day Africa tour and will meet with Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga during her visit there.

Kenya, the homeland of President Obama’s late father, is struggling to overcome political and tribal divisions laid bare after disputed December 2007 presidential elections.


Ashes of drug firm CEO’s mom stolen

BERN | Drug maker Novartis AG said Tuesday that animal rights activists have stolen the ashes of its CEO’s mother and set fire to his Austrian hunting lodge.

Swiss authorities, however, said they didn’t know who was behind the attacks.

In the latest incident, CEO Daniel Vasella’s Tyrolean lodge in Bach, Austria, was badly burned early Monday morning.

One week earlier, someone dug up an urn containing the ashes of Mr. Vasella’s mother, who died in 2001, and took them from her grave in the eastern Swiss city of Chur, leaving behind the spray-painted message “Drop HLS Now” in red letters on the gravestone.

Novartis spokesman Satoshi Sugimoto said the company is convinced that Britain-based animal rights activists are behind a string of attacks on the company and its chief.

The animal rights group Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty has campaigned for years against the British testing laboratory Huntingdon Life Sciences, but Tuesday the group denied any involvement in the Novartis attacks.


Airline pilot killed; passengers survive

BANGKOK | A passenger plane skidded off the runway and crashed into a building after landing on the Thai resort island of Koh Samui on Tuesday, killing the chief pilot and injuring at least seven people including foreign tourists.

The Bangkok Airways flight landed in stormy weather and hit the airport’s old air traffic control tower, which had been converted into a fire station, said Kanikka Kemawutanond, director-general of the Department of Civil Aviation. The co-pilot and six tourists were hurt.

The co-pilot, who was stuck in the aircraft for more than two hours, was among the last evacuated from the stricken plane. Television footage showed rescue workers pulling him from the aircraft and into an ambulance on the runway.

Mr. Kannikka, who earlier reported that 34 people were injured, said only seven were hospitalized while others sustained bruises and shock.


Suspected bomber captured in Iraq

BAGHDAD | The deputy commander of a radical Islamic group linked to al Qaeda that authorities say was behind the 2004 Madrid bombings has been arrested in northern Iraq, the U.S. military said Tuesday.

The group, Ansar al-Islam, is thought to be behind attacks on U.S. and Iraqi troops in Mosul, considered the last urban stronghold of al Qaeda in Iraq, and elsewhere in the country.

Fakri Hadi Gari, also known as Abu Abbas and Mullah Halgurd, and nine other suspected members were arrested July 24 during a joint U.S.-Iraq operation, the U.S. military said.

Spanish authorities have said a terrorist cell connected to Ansar al-Islam was behind the March 11, 2004, Madrid bombings that killed 191 people and wounded about 1,800.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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