- The Washington Times - Monday, December 28, 2009


10 hurt in clash of police, Kurds

DIYARBAKIR | Clashes erupted between Kurdish demonstrators and police in southeastern Turkey on Sunday, injuring about 10 people, including two police officers, a security official said.

The clashes, which also led to about a dozen arrests, broke out in the towns of Hakkari and Yuksekova after a wave of arrests last week of Kurdish officials with suspected links to Kurdish separatists.

The demonstrators hurled stones and police fired tear gas, the official said on the condition of anonymity. Turkish police on Thursday rounded up 31 people, including eight Kurdish mayors, as part of an investigation into the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and its offshoots.

The PKK, which Ankara and much of the international community consider to be a terrorist organization, has waged a bloody insurgency for Kurdish independence since 1984 that has claimed about 45,000 lives.


Afghan teens dumped in cold

STOCKHOLM | Five cold and hungry Afghan teenagers were discovered wandering in a southern Swedish town after being dumped in a forest days earlier by smugglers, a priest who had taken them in said Sunday.

A member of the church found the five in the southern town of Savsjo on Thursday, local pastor Jonas Nystrom said. He said police had asked the parish to look after the teenagers until the social services office opened on Monday after a Christmas break.

“They were cold, they were tired, and they were starving,” Mr. Nystrom said.

The group had been “abandoned in the forest by a smuggler who did not want to be seen with them, and they were able to get to Savsjo by following a railway line,” he said.


Runoff election to decide president

ZAGREB | Ivo Josipovic of Croatia’s main opposition Social Democrats and independent Zagreb Mayor Milan Bandic will contest a presidential election runoff, exit polls showed after Sunday’s first round.

Mr. Josipovic took 32.7 percent of the vote and Mr. Bandic 14.1 percent, according to exit polls by RTL and Nova television stations.

Croatians went to the polls amid a deepening economic crisis and concerns over high-level corruption to elect a president to steer the Balkan country into the European Union.

Popular centrist Stipe Mesic stands down in February after serving the maximum two five-year terms and transforming the country from a nationalist autocracy into a parliamentary democracy.

While Mr. Mesic, 75, succeeded in gaining Croatia’s entry into NATO, the country’s ambitions for the European Union were delayed by a border dispute with neighboring Slovenia.


Avalanches kill seven in Italy

ROME | Seven people have been killed by avalanches in northern Italy, officials said Sunday.

In one incident, two Italian tourists were killed when an avalanche hit them in the Italian Alps, Carabinieri police said. Four rescuers who were looking for them were hit by a subsequent avalanche and also were killed.

The two tourists went missing Saturday afternoon while mountain climbing in the Trentino Alto Adige region.

In a separate incident in the same region, rescue and Carabinieri police officials said Sunday, a 14-year-old from Germany was hit by an avalanche when he was skiing with his brother and a friend.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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