- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 20, 2009


Masked police raid opposition camp

TBILISI | Masked Georgian police ransacked an opposition tent camp outside the presidential residence Friday and arrested six activists, witnesses and opposition leaders said.

The demonstration had been part of a broader protest movement lasting more than two months and aimed at forcing President Mikhail Saakashvili to resign.

Several dozen opposition supporters had been camping outside his Tbilisi home in small tents and metal cages meant to symbolize prison cells. People who live nearby had complained that the demonstrators were blocking some narrow streets.

Interior Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili said police had moved in to prevent a clash with residents from getting out of control. Six activists were arrested on minor charges, he said.


Karate coach killed in Mosul

BAGHDAD | Gunmen killed the coach of Iraq’s national karate team Friday in Mosul, underscoring the dangers still facing this northern city less than two weeks before a deadline for U.S. troops to withdraw from urban areas.

Izzat Abdullah, 45, a Sunni, was fatally shot near his house in an eastern section of Mosul, according to police and sports officials. A spokesman for the National Olympic Committee said Mr. Abdullah, who moved to Mosul from Baghdad after the U.S. ouster of Saddam Hussein’s regime in 2003, spent his time training youths as well as coaching the national team.


United States joins human-rights body

GENEVA | The United States joined the U.N. Human Rights Council on Friday, a body widely criticized for failing to confront abuses around the world and for acting primarily to condemn Israel, one of Washington’s closest allies.

U.S. officials pledged to work constructively in the 47-member council, which has frequently been hampered by ideological differences between rich and poor countries.

“The United States assumes its seat on the council with gratitude, with humility and in the spirit of cooperation,” said Mark C. Storella, who is for the moment the top diplomat at the U.S. Mission to U.N. organizations in Geneva.

The decision in May to seek a seat on the Geneva-based body after three years of giving it the cold shoulder represented a major shift in line with President Obama’s statement that “a new era of engagement has begun.”


WWI veteran world’s oldest man

LONDON | Guinness World Records said Friday that 113-year-old British World War I veteran Henry Allingham has become the world’s oldest man.

The previous holder of the title, Tomoji Tanabe, died in his sleep in southern Japan earlier Friday at age 113.

Mr. Allingham is one of only two surviving World War I veterans in Britain and celebrated his 113th birthday June 6. He has been Britain’s oldest man since January 2007.


Chilean to head Bhutto inquiry

UNITED NATIONS | Chile’s U.N. Ambassador Heraldo Munoz will head a six-month U.N. inquiry into the 2007 assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, a U.N. spokeswoman said Friday.

The other two members of the U.N. “Bhutto Commission” are Indonesia’s former Attorney General Marzuki Darusman and Peter Fitzgerald, a retired senior officer with the Garda Siochana, Ireland’s national police force, spokeswoman Michele Montas said.

Mr. Munoz was a co-founder of Chile’s Party for Democracy and has held a number of government posts in democratic Chile.

The commission is not a tribunal and would not be empowered to launch criminal proceedings related to the assassination of Mrs. Bhutto, who was killed in a suicide attack in December 2007. That will make it much less far-reaching than a probe by the world body of the 2005 killing of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.


Google map helps catch suspects

THE HAGUE | Dutch police have arrested twin brothers on suspicion of robbery after their purported victim spotted a picture of them following him on Google’s Street View map application, a spokesman said Friday.

Police in the town of Groningen said it was likely the first time Street View images had been used in a Dutch criminal investigation.

A 14-year-old boy told police last September that he had been robbed of $230 and his cell phone after two men dragged him off his bicycle in Groningen, 110 miles northeast of the capital, Amsterdam. The victim called again in March after seeing an image of himself and two men he thought were his attackers on Street View, police said.

Prosecutors sent a formal request to Google for the original photo because people’s faces are blurred on Street View. The company complied, and a robbery squad detective immediately recognized one of the twins.


Crash victims’ kin to get $24,000

PARIS | Air France said Friday it would give about $24,000 as an advance to the families of the victims of the crash of Flight 447 from Rio de Janeiro to Paris.

Remains of some of the 228 dead, from 32 countries, and hundreds of pieces of wreckage reclaimed from the sea off Brazil are helping experts build a picture of what happened to the Airbus A330.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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