- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 29, 2009

SOMALIA

Pirates win ransom for Chinese ship

MOGADISHU | A band of Somali pirates split a $4 million ransom to release a Chinese cargo ship and 25 sailors after two months in captivity, one of the hijackers said Monday.

The EU Naval Force said the bulk carrier De Xin Hai was released outside of Hobyo, Somalia, on Sunday. The crew and ship are in good condition, the force said.

China’s official Xinhua News Agency said the ship and crew were under the protection of a Chinese naval fleet after an early morning rescue. It did not give further details about the rescue.

A Somali man who said he was a pirate and gave his name as Ahmed Afweyne told the Associated Press that pirates were paid $4 million to release the ship and crew.

IRAN

Israel expects A-bomb in 2011

JERUSALEM | Iran will possess the technology to build a nuclear bomb by early 2010 and be able to produce one the following year, Israeli media quoted Israel’s defense minister as saying Monday.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak delivered his assessment before the Israeli parliament’s defense and foreign affairs committee. It broadly matches assessments from other nations including the United States, which estimates that Tehran could produce a nuclear weapon between 2010 and 2015.

The radio and newspaper Web site reports did not identify the source of their information, but participants in the committee meetings routinely brief reporters on the proceedings.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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