- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 25, 2009

PHILIPPINES

Killings prompt emergency rule

AMPATUAN | The Philippine president placed two southern provinces under emergency rule Tuesday as security forces unearthed more bodies, pushing the death toll to 46 in some of the deadliest election violence in the nation’s history.

Police and soldiers found 22 bodies in a hillside mass grave Tuesday, adding to the 24 bullet-riddled bodies recovered near the scene of Monday’s massacre in Maguindanao province, said Chief Superintendent Josefino Cataluna of the Central Mindanao region.

This southern region of the Philippines is wracked by violent political rivalries, in addition to a long-running Islamic insurgency, but the killings have shocked this Southeast Asian nation. One adviser to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has described the massacre as the worst in the country’s recent history.

PAKISTAN

Militants attacked in Khyber region

LANDIKOTAL | Pakistani soldiers killed 18 militants Tuesday in a campaign to break a network orchestrating attacks on Western forces’ supplies to Afghan-istan and carrying out bombings, a security official said.

Any heavy casualties inflicted on militants in the Khyber region could ease concerns in Washington, which wants Pakistan to root out fighters along the border, seen as a global hub for militants, to help it defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Militants have been trying to choke off the supplies, forcing the United States and other countries with troops in landlocked Afghanistan to look for alternative routes.

INDIA

Mosque-riot probe cites militant Hindus

NEW DELHI | A government investigation released Tuesday reportedly implicated dozens of Hindu nationalist politicians, including a former prime minister, in the 1992 demolition of a mosque that sparked deadly communal riots.

The attack by Hindu mobs on the Babri Mosque in Ayodhya, 350 miles east of New Delhi, set off nationwide riots that killed 2,000 people in the largest explosion of Hindu-Muslim tension in the country in decades.

Hindu nationalist leaders say the mosque was built by Mogul rulers at the site of a Hindu temple marking the birthplace of the Hindu god Ram.

BELGIUM

Reborn man raises doubts

BRUSSELS | With a caretaker holding his hand, a Belgian man who was diagnosed as comatose for 23 years typed out a message Tuesday that he felt reborn after decades of loneliness and frustration.

A leading bioethicist, however, expressed skepticism that the man was truly communicating on his own.

Car-crash victim Rom Houben was diagnosed as being in a vegetative state but appears to have been conscious the whole time, doctors here said.

Assisted by a speech therapist who rapidly moved his finger letter by letter along a touch-screen keyboard, Mr. Houben told AP Television News that years of being unable to move or communicate left him feeling “alone, lonely, frustrated, but also blessed with my family.”

Arthur Caplan, a bioethics professor at the University of Pennsylvania, said he is skeptical of Mr. Houben’s ability to communicate after seeing video of his hand being moved along the keyboard. “That is Ouija board stuff,” he said.

AFGHANISTAN

Probe targets corrupt ministers

KABUL | Fifteen current and former Afghan ministers are under investigation over allegations of corruption that have plagued the government of President Hamid Karzai, the attorney general’s office said Tuesday.

In his inaugural address last week for his second term as president, Mr. Karzai pledged to arrest those who spread corruption. International leaders, who have threatened to hold back troops and development aid unless Karzai cleans up corruption in his government, are watching closely to see whether he keeps his promise.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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