- The Washington Times - Friday, July 17, 2009

PAKISTAN

Gunmen kill U.N. worker, guard

PESHAWAR | Gunmen killed a U.N. employee and a guard during a failed kidnap attempt at a refugee camp in northwestern Pakistan on Thursday, officials said.

The attack took place at the Kacha Garhi camp near Peshawar. Police said the assailants tried to abduct the U.N. official and opened fire when he resisted. The chief of the U.N. refugee agency in Pakistan, Guenet Guebre-Christos, identified the dead U.N. worker as Zill-e-Usman, a 59-year-old Pakistani in charge of the United Nations’ relief efforts at the camp. She said Mr. Usman had worked for the United Nations for nearly 30 years and was set to retire soon.

Also Thursday, a U.N. commission investigating the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto arrived in Pakistan for the first time since opening its inquiry.

ICELAND

Parliament votes to join EU

REYKJAVIK | Iceland’s parliament has narrowly voted to apply for membership in the European Union, relinquishing some of the recession-hit country’s cherished independence in the name of stability.

Members of Iceland’s parliament, the Althingi, voted 33-27 on Thursday to start membership talks with the European Union.

Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir wants to submit a membership application to the European Union by the end of the month. A final decision to join the bloc would need approval by Icelanders in a referendum.

Iceland’s buccaneering Viking spirit took a battering last year when the country’s banking sector and currency collapsed, and the volcanic island became an early casualty of the global economic crisis.

NORTH KOREA

U.N. panel expands sanctions

UNITED NATIONS | The U.N. Security Council on Thursday expanded the list of North Korean bodies and individuals under sanctions for nuclear and missile activities, adding Pyongyang’s atomic energy agency and two of its top officials.

Altogether, the council’s North Korea sanctions committee clamped five new organizations and five people under asset freezes and travel bans, and banned the import into the reclusive Communist state of two weapons-related materials.

Announcement of the list followed a month of committee haggling after the Security Council expanded U.N. sanctions against North Korea in a June 12 resolution that responded to a nuclear test Pyongyang carried out May 25.

FRANCE

Madonna show stage crashes, 1 dead

MARSEILLE | The roof of a stage being built for a Madonna concert in the French port city of Marseille collapsed Thursday, leaving one worker dead and nine injured, city officials said.

The roof at the Stade Velodrome stadium fell apart on top of several workers. Two of the injured were seriously hurt, officials said. The seriously injured were an American and a Briton. The killed worker was French.

Madonna’s “Sticky & Sweet” tour was due to arrive in Marseille on Sunday, but the concert was canceled because of the accident.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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