- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Pirates can best EU naval armada

NAIROBI | International naval forces will never be able to completely secure the vast area of ocean where Somali pirates are hijacking ships off East Africa, the commander of the EU Naval Force’s counter-piracy efforts said Tuesday.

In the latest attack, pirates captured the Greek-flagged tanker Maran Centaurus on Sunday while it was carrying 275,000 metric tons of crude oil, the ship’s owners said. That is equivalent to about 2 million barrels of oil worth roughly $150 million, said Ben Cahill, head of the Petroleum Risk Manager service at PFC Energy.

“The news of a few days ago of a 300,000-ton tanker being seized is illustrative of the problems in protecting and policing an area of the world’s oceans that amounts to an area of about 1 million square miles,” said Rear Adm. Peter Hudson, the commander of the EU Naval Force’s counter-piracy operations. He said pirates are now attacking ships as far as 1,000 miles off the Somali coast.


Conservatives balk at climate-change bill

SYDNEY | Australia’s plan to become one of the first nations with a carbon trading system to cut greenhouse gas emissions was dealt a blow Tuesday when the main opposition party chose a leader who vowed to vote it down.

A tumultuous day in politics also means the country could be one step closer to early elections, with policy differences over global warming placing it as a central issue of the coming campaign.

Debate in the Senate on the government’s plans for an emissions trading system continued Tuesday as the conservative Liberal party ejected one leader from the post and elected another. A final vote could come at almost any time.

The conservatives split bitterly over the bill, culminating in Tuesday’s leadership challenge. Right-leaning Tony Abbott ousted Malcolm Turnbull, who had struck a deal with the government to support the bill.


Train investigator hurt by bomb

MOSCOW | Russia’s top investigator was injured by a bomb that went off as he and colleagues scoured the wreckage of a passenger train derailed by an earlier explosion, his office said Tuesday.

The last three carriages of the Nevsky Express flew off the tracks late Friday, killing at least 26 and injuring dozens more in what officials consider a terrorist bombing.

Another bomb exploded Saturday as investigators and rescue workers scoured the wreckage, Russian Railways said, giving no word on injuries. On Tuesday, however, the federal Investigative Committee under the Prosecutor General’s Office said its chief, Alexander Bastrykin, had been hurt by that bomb, which was detonated by remote control.


Police break up major Mafia clan

ROME | Italian police broke up a major Mafia clan, issuing 83 arrest warrants and seizing businesses, land, racehorses and a London-based online betting company, officials said Tuesday.

Local politicians and businessmen in the southern Italian city of Bari were among those implicated as part of a three-year operation, called “Domino,” for collaborating with the Parisi clan, police said.

Police said the head of the clan, Savino Parisi, 48, was arrested overnight along with his closest associates. They are accused of attempted homicide, drug trafficking, loan-sharking, interfering with the bidding process for public contracts, and money laundering.

The confiscated assets total about $330 million, officials said.

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