- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 14, 2009

CHINA

Russia’s Gazprom signs gas deal

BEIJING | Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Tuesday negotiated a major new gas deal with China and said that ties between Moscow and Beijing help restrain other powers, a veiled allusion to the U.S.

Russia’s state-run natural-gas monopoly Gazprom and China National Petroleum Corp. signed a framework agreement that calls for the supply of about 2.4 trillion cubic feet of gas a year.

Chinese media reports have said the agreement was expected to be a gas-for-loans deal similar to a $25 billion oil-for-loans deal completed earlier this year. Russia’s cash-strapped energy companies need Chinese funding, while Beijing has welcomed the chance to further diversify sources of energy needed to fuel its fast-growing economy.

PAKISTAN

Air raids target Taliban camps

DERA ISMAIL KHAN | Pakistani jets softened up militant targets along the Afghan border Tuesday ahead of what the government promises will be a ground offensive into the Taliban’s main stronghold, authorities said.

The government’s resolve to send large numbers of troops on a risky operation into mountainous South Waziristan has deepened after a week of attacks around the country, along with ominous signs that different militant groups are now working in tandem.

CONGO

Groups say 1,000 killed in east

JOHANNESBURG | More than 1,000 civilians have been killed and nearly 900,000 displaced in eastern Congo by Rwandan Hutu militiamen and Congolese forces since January, humanitarian groups said Tuesday.

The report released by a coalition of 84 organizations said that many of the killings were carried out by Rwandan Hutu militiamen.

Congolese government soldiers also have targeted civilians through killings and widespread rape, looting, forced labor and arbitrary arrests, the report said.

SAUDI ARABIA

Al Qaeda suspects killed in shootout

RIYADH | A shootout Tuesday between Saudi security forces and suspected al Qaeda militants - some of whom were disguised as women and wearing explosives belts - left two of the militants and a soldier dead, the Interior Ministry said.

Another soldier was lightly injured in the clash at a checkpoint in the south of the country, near the border with Yemen. One of the assailants was captured.

The shootout was the first known confrontation between authorities and al Qaeda since a suicide bomber injured Assistant Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef in the western seaport of Jidda on Aug. 27.

RUSSIA

Stalin grandson loses libel suit

MOSCOW | A Russian court ruled against Josef Stalin’s grandson Tuesday in a libel suit over a newspaper article that said the Soviet dictator sent thousands of people to their deaths.

A judge at a Moscow district court rejected Yevgeny Dzhugashvili’s claim that Novaya Gazeta defamed Stalin in an April article referring to the strongman leader as a “bloodthirsty cannibal.”

A ruling against Novaya Gazeta would have been seen as an exoneration of Stalin more than 50 years after his death. It would have been a major setback to beleaguered Russian liberals who say the country must acknowledge the truth of its bloody past and who accuse the Kremlin of whitewashing history.

ROMANIA

Government falls in trust vote

BUCHAREST | Romania’s government fell Tuesday in a confidence vote in parliament, with lawmakers saying it has failed to improve the economy after it went into recession following three years of growth.

Lawmakers voted 254-176 to oust the centrist minority government of Prime Minister Emil Boc. It was the first time parliament had dismissed a government since communism ended in 1989.

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