- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 18, 2009


Video shows FARC aid to Ecuadorean

BOGOTA, Colombia | An hourlong video police found in a computer of a purported rebel appears to dispel any doubts that Colombia’s largest rebel army gave money to the 2006 election campaign of President Rafael Correa of Ecuador.

The video shows the second-ranking commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) reading the deathbed manifesto of founding leader Manuel “Sureshot” Marulanda. The manifesto clearly acknowledges FARC contributions to Mr. Correa’s campaign, but it’s still possible that Mr. Correa wasn’t aware of them.

The video, given to the Associated Press by a government official, adds weight to evidence found in a half-dozen electronic documents recovered at a rebel camp destroyed in a cross-border raid last year.

Despite revelations about ties to FARC, Mr. Correa was re-elected in April by a comfortable margin.


British soldier, children die in attacks

KABUL | Bombs killed a dozen people, including a British soldier and five children, in southern Afghanistan, authorities said Friday.

The five children were among 11 people who died Friday when a roadside bomb struck their vehicle in the Spin Boldak district of southern Kandahar province near the border with Pakistan, police said.

In London, the British Ministry of Defense announced that a British soldier was killed Thursday when a bomb exploded near a foot patrol in Gereshk, an industrial city of Helmand province where fighting has been raging this month. The soldier’s death brings to 48 the number of NATO soldiers killed in Afghanistan in July - the deadliest month for the international force since the war began in 2001.


Rights lawyers’ office shut down

BEIJING | A legal research center in Beijing was shut down Friday and the licenses of more than 50 lawyers - many known for their politically sensitive human rights work - were revoked in what appeared to be one of China’s most drastic moves to restrain activist lawyers.

The actions underscore a renewed official push to control these lawyers, who already run the risk of being detained, harassed, attacked and threatened with disbarment for their work.

About 20 officials from Beijing’s Civil Affairs Bureau showed up Friday morning at the offices of the Gongmeng rights group’s legal research center and confiscated computers and other equipment, said office manager Tian Qizhuang.


Presidents meet on Nagorno-Karabakh

MOSCOW | The presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan met in Moscow on Friday in a Moscow-brokered attempt to resolve one of the bitterest disputes left by the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

Armenia’s Serzh Sarksyan and Azerbaijan’s Ilham Aliyev will also have a joint meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Saturday, a Russian Foreign Ministry source said.

Nagorno-Karabakh, a mainly ethnic Armenian Christian enclave inside Azeri borders, declared independence in 1991 with support from Armenia and fought Muslim Azerbaijan in a war that killed some 35,000 people before a shaky cease-fire was signed in 1994.

No country has recognized Karabakh’s independence.


Man jailed in plot to bomb mall

LONDON | A British Muslim convert was jailed for at least 10 years Friday for plotting to blow up a shopping center using his own homemade “suicide vest.”

Isa Ibrahim, 20, a student from Bristol in southwest England, was arrested in April last year after police received what they described as a “landmark” tip-off from a member of the local Muslim community.

During a search of his home, police found a quantity of hexamethylene triperoxide diamine - a high explosive that can be made from household ingredients and the same substance as used in the deadly London suicide bomb attacks of July 7, 2005.

Also found in his one-bedroom apartment were an electrical circuit capable of detonating the explosive and a half-made suicide vest. Detectives said his intended target was a busy shopping center in Bristol.


10 elderly climbers die on mountains

TOKYO | Japanese police were investigating possible negligence by tour organizers after 10 senior citizen climbers were found dead Friday in Japan’s northern mountains, apparently from hypothermia.

Nine seniors died while climbing Mount Tomuraushi on Hokkaido, Japan’s main northern island, police said. Eight were part of an 18-member group tour organized by Amuse-Travel Co. Ltd., while the other was climbing alone. A 10th elderly person died on another mountain on Hokkaido.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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