- The Washington Times - Monday, February 23, 2009


Sunni lawmaker wanted by police

BAGHDAD | The confessions told of high-stakes terror and street-level thuggery: Former bodyguards accused a combative Sunni lawmaker on Sunday of directing a wave of violence that ranged from a 2007 suicide blast inside the parliament building to kidnappings seeking just $30 ransoms.

In tapes released by Iraqi authorities, two former bodyguards of Mohammed al-Dayni — one of them his nephew — detailed a nearly three-year trail of bloodshed and atrocities that they say was masterminded by the 39-year-old electrical engineer, including burying alive more than 100 people in an act of revenge.

Mr. al-Dayni, in a telephone interview with the Associated Press, rejected the allegations as “untrue and baseless” and suggested that the accusations were political punishment for standing up to the Shi’ite-led government.

The spokesman for Iraq’s Supreme Judicial Council, Abdul Sattar al-Bairqdar, said a formal arrest warrant cannot be issued until parliament lifts Mr. al-Dayni’s immunity from prosecution.


Right-left talk of unity government

JERUSALEM | Israel’s political rivals Benjamin Netanyahu and Tzipi Livni met Sunday for the first time since an indecisive Feb. 10 election to talk about a future government.

Mr. Netanyahu, hawkish leader of the center-right Likud party, has vowed to persuade Mrs. Livni, the foreign minister and leader of the centrist Kadima party, to be part of a joint government.

Mr. Netanyahu, whom President Shimon Peres asked on Friday to form a new ruling coalition, pledged earlier to cooperate with the United States on Middle East peace.

Mrs. Livni, 50, has not ruled out negotiating a common government but told party loyalists shortly before the talks that joining hands with 65 hawkish members of parliament who back Mr. Netanyahu risked “betraying the confidence of voters.”


Preliminary deal reached with rebels

KINSHASA | The Democratic Republic of Congo government and the main former rebel group Sunday reached a preliminary agreement on a wider peace deal for the east of the country, officials on both sides said.

The agreement was reached at talks between negotiators from President Joseph Kabila’s government and the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP), which have been taking place since Wednesday in the main eastern city of Goma after a near two-month hiatus, sources said.

The CNDP had been led by renegade Tutsi general Laurent Nkunda until his capture in neighboring Rwanda last month.

There were no immediate details on the contents of the preliminary agreement, but the two sides are scheduled to hold a further round of talks in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, next week.


Tiger keeps out illegal loggers

JAKARTA | A Sumatran tiger mauled two illegal loggers to death in western Indonesia, bringing to five the number of people killed by the critically endangered cats in less than a month, a conservationist said Sunday.

The tiger attacked a 50-year-old man and his 18-year-old son early Saturday while they slept next to a pile of stolen wood in a protected forest on Sumatra island, about 375 miles west of the capital, Jakarta, said Didy Wurdjanto of the state conservation agency.

Three people were killed in two separate attacks in late January in the area. Park rangers last week trapped an adult tigress thought to be responsible for the deaths and relocated her.

About 40 people have been killed by tigers on Sumatra between 2000 and 2004, according to the agency.

“This time it was the loggers’ fault,” Mr. Wurdjanto said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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