- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 28, 2009

IRAQ

U.S. soldier killed in Baghdad bombing

BAGHDAD | A roadside bomb killed a U.S. soldier Wednesday in Baghdad, making May the deadliest month for the American military since September.

The fatal attack occurred two days after a blast struck a U.S. convoy west of the capital, killing three Americans, including two civilians and a soldier. At least 20 American service members have died so far this month, compared with 25 in September, according to an Associated Press tally.

Meanwhile, Iraq’s intelligence service is suing Britain’s Guardian newspaper for defamation because it ran a story describing Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s administration as “increasingly autocratic,” the newspaper said.

CHINA

Rights case lawyers face disbarment

BEIJING | China’s judiciary is warning law firms to rein in lawyers who take up human rights and other politically sensitive cases, lawyers said Wednesday, increasing the pressure in a government campaign that has so far failed to curb growing legal activism.

Lawyers said authorities had met or talked on the phone with senior members of at least nine law firms in recent weeks, urging them to not seek the renewal of licenses for certain lawyers or to submit partial applications that would allow authorities to reject them on technicalities.

If carried through, the disbarments would mark the broadest effort in recent years by the government to rein in a growing number of activist lawyers.

SRI LANKA

Army kills 11 Tamil rebels

COLOMBO | Sri Lankan troops on a mission to flush out the remnants of the Tamil Tiger rebels killed 11 suspected guerrillas in eastern jungles Wednesday, the military said, in the largest clash since declaring it had won its 25-year war against the insurgents.

Despite that victory, the government cited the continued threat of rebel terror attacks Wednesday as justification for maintaining a 30-year-old terrorism law that gives the police and military sweeping powers in urban centers.

After Wednesday’s skirmish near the southeastern town of Ampara, the military said it recovered weapons, medical equipment and 11 rebel bodies. It said the army had no casualties.

INDIA

Cyclone toll rises to 191

KOLKATA | Heavy rain caused deadly mudslides and slowed rescue efforts Wednesday after Cyclone Aila pounded eastern India and Bangladesh, killing at least 191 people.

The cyclone destroyed thousands of homes and stranded millions of people in flooded villages before it began to ease Tuesday. The official death toll in India stood at 78 by Wednesday. Bangladesh’s Food and Disaster Management Ministry said the toll there was 113.

KAZAKHSTAN

Russian space capsule blasts off

BAIKONUR | A Russian space capsule blasted off Wednesday on a landmark mission to expand the permanent human presence in space.

The Soyuz craft carrying Canadian Bob Thirsk, Russian Roman Romanenko and Belgian Frank De Winne soared above Kazakhstan’s southern steppe to begin a two-day journey to the International Space Station. The three astronauts will join the three crew members already on the station, forming a six-member permanent crew for the first time.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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