- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 27, 2009


Suspected U.S. missiles kill three

MIR ALI | A suspected U.S. missile strike killed three people Saturday in a northwest Pakistani tribal region where militants focused on fighting the West in Afghanistan are concentrated, two Pakistani intelligence officials said.

The strike in the Babar Raghzai area of North Waziristan also wounded two people, the officials said. The identities of the dead were not immediately clear.

The area targeted is used by militants from two major factions that are battling U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan - the Haqqani network and the militants of warlord Hafiz Gul Bahadur.

U.S. missile strikes in North Waziristan are sensitive largely because Pakistan has a truce with Bahadur. He agreed to stay on the sidelines as the Pakistani army has waged an offensive in South Waziristan against the Pakistani Taliban, a group that has focused on attacking the Pakistani state. Missile strikes on his territory could endanger that deal, analysts have said.


Bombs targeting pilgrims kill five

BAGHDAD | A string of attacks Saturday against Shi’ite pilgrims in eastern Baghdad killed five, the latest round of violence to strike worshippers during a revered mourning observance.

Insurgents have targeted Shi’ite pilgrims, killing dozens and wounding more than 100 last week in an attempt to re-ignite sectarian violence.

Hundreds of thousands of Shi’ite pilgrims are making their way to the southern city of Karbala for Ashoura. The 10-day mourning period culminates Sunday, marking the anniversary of the seventh-century death of the prophet Muhammad’s grandson, Imam Hussein, who was killed in a battle near Karbala.


Explosion rocks Hezbollah stronghold

BEIRUT | Three bombs planted under a car exploded south of Beirut on Saturday, killing one person and wounding several others in an attack that apparently targeted an official from the Palestinian militant group Hamas, the state-run National News Agency said.

The Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, which controls the area, sealed off the streets in the southern suburb of Haret Hreik and prevented journalists from getting close to the scene. One senior police official said the blast occurred in a neighborhood that houses an office belonging to Hamas.


Governor quits after sex tape

HYDERABAD | The 86-year-old governor of a southern Indian state resigned Saturday, a day after a television news channel broadcast a tape allegedly showing him in bed with three women, an official said.

Andhra Pradesh state Gov. Narain Dutt Tiwari’s office has denied the allegation, denouncing the tape as fabricated. Mr. Tiwari, a veteran governing Congress party leader, sent his resignation letter to the Indian president Saturday, citing health reasons, a state official said.

The television channel ABN Andhra Jyoti News, which broadcast the tape, said it was made in a sting operation. The three women were from his northern home state of Uttrakhand, it claimed. They were brought to Hyderabad by another woman who was allegedly promised a mining lease by the governor in return for sexual favors, the television channel claimed.


Last Kon-Tiki crew member dies

OSLO | A museum official says Knut Magne Haugland, the last of six crew members who crossed the Pacific Ocean on board the balsa wood raft Kon-Tiki, has died. He was 92.

Kon-Tiki Museum Director Maja Bauge said Saturday that the former Norwegian resistance fighter and explorer died of natural causes in an Oslo hospital on Friday.

Mr. Haugland, decorated by the British in World War II for helping prevent the German nuclear program from getting heavy water to make weapons, joined Norwegian anthropologist Thor Heyerdahl’s expedition in 1947 as a radio operator.

The Kon-Tiki team sailed the raft with basic equipment 4,900 miles from Peru to Polynesia in 101 days to prove Heyerdahl’s theory that ancient mariners may have migrated across ocean stretches.

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