- The Washington Times - Monday, October 5, 2009

INDONESIA

Rain washes away hope for survivors

JUMANAK | Search teams lost hope of finding any more survivors under the rubble left by a massive earthquake, as torrential rains on Sunday held up aid delivery in the remote hills of western Indonesia, where several villages were wiped out.

Rescue teams instead focused on retrieving the rotting bodies from the rubble of the 7.6-magnitude earthquake in Sumatra island, setting up tents for the tens of thousands of homeless and providing them food and drinking water.

Vice President Jusuf Kalla said there was little hope of finding anyone alive. “We can be sure that they are dead. So now we are waiting for burials,” he told reporters.

There is no clear word on the death toll. The United Nations put the figure at 1,100. The government earlier said 715 were dead and 3,000 were missing. But it revised the figure Sunday to 603 confirmed killed and 960 missing, presumably dead.

IRAQ

Massive explosion hits airport road

BAGHDAD | A fuel tanker exploded Sunday near a checkpoint outside of Baghdad International Airport, Iraqi officials said, along a route once known as the world’s deadliest road because of frequent attacks there during the height of the insurgency.

There were conflicting reports about the cause of the explosion, which wounded at least five guards at the checkpoint. No fatalities were reported.

A police official said a bomb attached to the tanker detonated at the checkpoint on the four-lane road leading to the airport. But airport spokesman Kareem al-Timini said the explosion was an accident that was caused when the driver started a fire to cook breakfast on the side of the road.

The explosion caused four other tankers to catch fire.

EGYPT

Al Qaeda leader eulogizes terrorist

CAIRO | Al Qaeda’s deputy leader in a video released Sunday paid tribute to a senior militant who was held in U.S. secret prisons and once gave information about links between the terror group and Iraq that was later deemed false.

In his 10-minute video, Ayman al-Zawahri eulogized Ali Mohammed Abdel-Aziz al-Fakheri, a Libyan militant with the nom de guerre of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi. The militant reportedly hanged himself with bedsheets in his prison cell in Libya in May, according to a newspaper with ties to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s son.

Al-Libi, which means the Libyan in Arabic, was captured in Pakistan in 2001 and later sent to Egypt under the CIA’s extraordinary rendition program, where he was reportedly tortured and then handed over to Libya.

In the video, al-Zawahri accused President Obama of killing al-Libi and demanded the United States “apologize and pay financial and moral compensation” for those who have been detained in secret prisons.

NORTH KOREA

Chinese leader meets ‘dear leader’

PYONGYANG | China’s prime minister met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il on Sunday at the start of a state visit, amid signs the North may be willing to restart talks over its nuclear weapons programs.

Mr. Kim greeted Prime Minister Wen Jiabao earlier in the day at Pyongyang’s airport, a rare honor for a nonhead of state and an indication that Mr. Kim remains firmly in charge despite recent reports of failing health. The two men embraced on a red carpet laid out on the tarmac.

Mr. Wen’s three-day visit is being scrutinized for any further indication that North Korea is willing to re-engage with its negotiating partners after boycotting talks for months while threatening nuclear war and conducting nuclear and missile tests.

No details of discussions between Mr. Wen and Mr. Kim, known to North Koreans as “dear leader,” were released.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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