- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 10, 2009

CHINA

U.S. ships to stay in South China Sea

The White House said Monday that U.S. Navy ships will continue to operate in the South China Sea, where five Chinese vessels shadowed and maneuvered dangerously close to a Navy surveillance ship Sunday, prompting an American protest.

“We’re going to continue to operate in those international waters, and we expect the Chinese to observe international law around that,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.

Mr. Gibbs said U.S. officials had “protested the actions of the Chinese ships.” A formal protest was relayed to the Chinese government from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.



Defense officials in the Obama administration said the Sunday incident followed several days of “increasingly aggressive” acts by Chinese ships in the region. The incident took place in international waters in the South China Sea, about 75 miles south of Hainan Island.

SUDAN

Opposition leader freed from prison

KHARTOUM | Sudan released an Islamist opposition leader Monday, two months after he was detained for calling on President Omar Bashir to surrender to the International Criminal Court.

Hassan al-Turabi, 76, flown to his home in the capital, Khartoum, in the early hours without explanation, made clear that he had not changed his view that Lt. Gen. Bashir should give himself up to the court, which issued an arrest warrant last week.

The Hague-based court issued a warrant against Gen. Bashir last week to face charges of orchestrating war crimes in Darfur, where international analysts say six years of conflict has killed more than 200,000 people.

NORTHERN IRELAND

British officer fatally shot

BELFAST | Gunmen killed an officer in an attack on a Northern Ireland police patrol Monday, just 48 hours after Irish Republican Army dissidents fatally shot two British soldiers. The shootings fanned fears of a return to retaliatory violence after years of fragile peace.

“We are staring into the abyss,” said a moderate Catholic politician, Dolores Kelly, after police confirmed that the officer was fatally shot in the head while sitting in his patrol car in the religiously divided town of Craigavon.

No group claimed responsibility, but politicians blamed the Real IRA, the splinter group that admitted blame for Saturday’s fatal shooting of two soldiers who were collecting pizzas from outside an army base.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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