- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 1, 2009


Militant students want to fight Israel

TEHRAN | Hard-line Iranian student groups have asked the government to authorize volunteers to go carry out suicide bombings in Israel in response to the Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip.

The government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had not responded to the call by Wednesday. Volunteer suicide groups have made similar requests in the past, and the government never responded to their calls.

The groups’ activities appear to be mainly for propaganda purposes, and there has been no sign of Iranians preparing for suicide attacks in Israel.

Five hard-line student groups and a hard-line clerical group launched a registration drive on Monday, seeking volunteers to carry out suicide attacks against Israel.


Mall gunman targets Israelis

COPENHAGEN | A gunman wounded two Israelis working at a packed central Denmark shopping mall Wednesday, Danish police said.

One of the wounded was shot in the arm and the other in the leg, police said. Their condition is not clear.

The shooting took place at the Rosengaard mall in Odense, 105 miles west of Copenhagen. It took place about 3:30 p.m., when the mall was filled with people doing last-minute shopping before the New Year’s break.


Troops kill three militants

PESHAWAR | Pakistani troops killed three militants in an operation to secure the major supply route to U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, an official said Wednesday.

The route through the famed Khyber Pass remained closed for a second day because of the operation, but will hopefully reopen soon, said Fazal Mahmood, a local official.

The U.S. military has praised the campaign and said the temporary closure of the road was not a problem.

Western forces in landlocked Afghanistan rely on the winding, mountainous road for delivery of up to 75 percent of their fuel, food and other goods, which arrive in Pakistan via the port city of Karachi.


Court acquits spy of murder charge

JAKARTA | An Indonesian court on Wednesday acquitted a former intelligence official of the murder of a prominent rights activist, in a case which was seen as a key test of state accountability and commitment to the rule of law.

Muchdi Purwoprandjono, a former deputy chief of Indonesia’s National Intelligence Agency, was found not guilty of abusing his powers and assigning an agent to poison Munir Thalib, an outspoken critic of the country’s military.

Mr. Munir died of arsenic poisoning on a flight in 2004. His widow and supporters have long pressed the authorities to investigate his death and bring those responsible to justice.


Border dispute settled with China

HANOI | Vietnam and China said on Wednesday they had finished demarcating their land border, a diplomatic milestone for the communist neighbors who fought a brief but brutal war along the frontier 30 years ago.

Vietnamese and Chinese leaders had set a deadline to complete the task by the end of 2008, and negotiators announced with less than six hours to go that the goal had been achieved, underscoring the sensitivity of the territorial dispute between the two countries with a checkered past.

A more thorny maritime territorial dispute was not mentioned by the negotiators or in a joint statement on Wednesday.

The two sides agreed to work closely together and cooperate to protect peace and stability in the border area.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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