- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 16, 2009

IRAN

Freed U.S. journalist arrives in Austria

VIENNA, Austria | American journalist Roxana Saberi arrived in Austria on Friday to recuperate after four months in an Iranian prison and paid tribute to those who had supported her.

Miss Saberi, 32, smiling and looking well, was accompanied by her parents. She said she planned to spend several days in the Austrian capital so she could begin to come to terms with her ordeal and hoped to talk more about what happened.

Miss Saberi was arrested in late January and convicted of spying for the United States in a closed-door trial that her Iranian-born father said lasted only 15 minutes. She was freed Monday and reunited with her parents.



SUDAN

Chad accused of air raids

KHARTOUM | Sudan on Friday accused its neighbor Chad of launching two bombing raids on its territory, describing the attacks as “an act of war.”

The accusation comes a week after Chad said Sudan sent rebel forces over its border, raising fears of the collapse of a recent peace deal.

Both countries have regularly accused each other of backing insurgents bent on overthrowing their respective governments.

SRI LANKA

President vows to end war in 48 hours

COLOMBO | Sri Lanka’s president vowed to end the decades-old war against the Tamil Tiger rebels within 48 hours as the military battled Friday to take complete control of the country’s coastline.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa said thousands of civilians still in the war zone will be quickly freed from a tiny slice of land still controlled by the guerrillas, formally known as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

As the fighting raged, hundreds of desperate war refugees escaped the conflict zone and a top U.N. official headed on an urgent mission to safeguard the tens of thousands of civilians still trapped amid the heavy shelling.

NIGERIA

Militant camp hit after ship seizure

WARRI | Nigeria’s military sent helicopter gunships and boats Friday to attack a militant camp deep in the swamps of the southern oil region after the area’s fighters hijacked a ship and seized 15 Filipinos.

A military spokesman said troops in southern Delta State were searching for the hostages kidnapped Thursday by followers of a notorious regional militant leader known as Government Tompolo.

The region’s main militant group said it sank six military gunboats and seized three others. It said many soldiers had died and made its latest declaration of “all-out war” in the region where Nigeria’s crude oil is pumped.

HONG KONG

Photographer of Saigon fall dies

HONG KONG | Hugh Van Es, a Dutch photojournalist who covered the Vietnam War and recorded the most famous image of the fall of Saigon in 1975 - a group of people scaling a ladder to a CIA helicopter on a rooftop - died Friday morning in Hong Kong. He was 67 years old. He suffered a brain hemorrhage last week and never regained consciousness, his wife Annie said.

Mr. Van Es arrived in Hong Kong as a freelancer in 1967. He joined the Associated Press photo staff in Saigon from 1969-1972 and then covered the last three years of the war from 1972-1975 for United Press International.

His shot of the helicopter escape from a Saigon rooftop on April 29, 1975, became a stunning metaphor for the desperate U.S. withdrawal and its overall policy failure in Vietnam.

UNITED NATIONS

63 states support ship-recycling treaty

HONG KONG | Sixty-three governments approved a U.N. convention Friday that aims to make the business of scrapping the world’s freighters, luxury liners and oil tankers safer and greener by requiring higher standards at recycling yards mostly located in South Asia.

But critics led by a coalition of 107 environmental and rights groups complained the International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships doesn’t go far enough. They want governments to ban the practice of breaking down ships along beaches and require ship owners to remove all hazardous materials before sending them for recycling.

An estimated 1,000 ships are broken down each year, mostly in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, and to a lesser degree in China and Turkey.

Sending the ships to the developing world saves the industry money but exposes an army of poorly trained workers to deadly hazards. Dozens die each year in explosions and accidents while others are sickened later in life after coming in contact with asbestos and other substances.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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