- The Washington Times - Monday, December 7, 2009


Fatal fire puts club boss in court

PERM | The owner of the nightclub where at least 112 people died in Russia’s worst fire in decades was taken to court for a detention hearing Sunday as shocked and grieving relatives began to bury the victims of the disaster.

About 130 people remained hospitalized, many in critical condition, with injuries from the early Saturday blaze, which witnesses said was sparked by onstage fireworks that shot into the decorative twig ceiling of the Lame Horse club.

The federal Investigative Committee said the club owner had been detained along with the club’s executive director, its artistic director and a businessman hired to install pyrotechnics on the night of the blaze. The committee did not provide their names.

The club owner and two of the three other suspects arrived at Leninsky District Court in this Ural Mountains industrial city to hear whether they will be jailed for the length of the investigation, a police colonel outside the court told the Associated Press. He said he was not authorized to give his name.


Commandos raid suicide-bomb house

PESHAWAR | Police commandos acting on a tip killed one militant and arrested five others Sunday in a raid against a bombing cell accused in recent attacks around the northwest Pakistani city of Peshawar, authorities said.

Police said the commandos encountered fierce resistance when they stormed the compound in the village of Kaka Khel near Peshawar, the largest city in the area and the main gateway to the Afghan border region where many al Qaeda and Taliban insurgents are based.

Militants have carried out a wave of deadly attacks in and around Peshawar in apparent retaliation for an army offensive in the tribal area of South Waziristan.

Three suicide jackets as well as a number of bombs, grenades, rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons were seized from the compound, regional police Chief Liaquat Ali Khan said.


Deal reached on parliamentary vote

BAGHDAD | A spokesman for Iraq’s parliament speaker says a political accord has been reached to clear the way for parliamentary elections next year.

Omar al-Mishhadani, the spokesman for parliament Speaker Ayad al-Samarie, had no details of the pact reached after marathon talks Sunday. A late-night emergency session was called for parliament members to vote on the deal.

But it appears to resolve objections from Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, who has vetoed the election law on complaints it didn’t give an adequate political voice to fellow Sunnis. Kurds had also objected to the distribution of seats among the country’s 18 provinces.

The election is scheduled for Jan. 16, but a delay of a month or more now appears likely.


Neighbors want free, fair elections

CONAKRY | A regional African bloc on Sunday called for Guinea to return to civilian rule as the junta’s No. 2 assumed control of the country following an assassination attempt on its leader.

Gen. Sekouba Konate, the vice president of the military junta, rushed back to Guinea’s capital from overseas to take charge following a Thursday assassination attempt on the junta’s president.

Guinea’s military leader, Capt. Moussa “Dadis” Camara, was airlifted Friday to Morocco, where he received surgery for trauma to the cranium, Morocco’s chief military doctor, Brig. Gen. Ali Abrouq, said Sunday.

Gen. Konate’s return to Guinea was met with a call from ECOWAS, a regional bloc of West African states, to immediately hand over power to civilians.

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