- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 12, 2009


Rockets hit Israel, draw return fire

TYRE | At least two rockets from Lebanon struck northern Israel on Friday, prompting Israeli artillery to shell the fruit groves from which they were fired, security officials on both sides of the border said.

No casualties were reported by Israeli police, who said two rockets landed. Lebanese security sources, who reported at least two outgoing missiles and 15 incoming Israeli shells, did not say who might have fired the rockets.

It was the first time since February that rockets had been fired from Lebanon into Israel, raising tensions along a border that remains volatile three years after a war between the Jewish state and Hezbollah Islamist guerrillas in Lebanon.

Meanwhile in East Jerusalem, an Israeli gunman shot and wounded two Palestinians - a 13-year-old boy and a 40-year-old man - and police arrested the suspect at the scene, police said.


Darfur refugees oppose U.S. envoy

CAIRO | The U.S. special envoy to Sudan is not welcome in Darfur’s refugee camps because he has downplayed the scope of the crisis there, a refugee representative said Friday.

Scott Gration, the U.S. envoy, on Wednesday began his fifth trip to Sudan’s south and plans to visit the refugee camps in the western region of Darfur later to assess the humanitarian situation.

Abu Sharati, a representative of the refugees, however, told the Associated Press that Mr. Gration is not welcome after he suggested the displaced should return home and the U.S. should ease its sanctions on Sudan.

Mr. Gration has said he never called for the forced return of the displaced living in camps back to their villages. He told a Senate hearing in July that there was no longer any evidence to support the U.S. designation of Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism and recommended easing sanctions.


Rioters set fires at Abu Ghraib

BAGHDAD | Abu Ghraib prison inmates rioted for a second straight day Friday to demand better conditions, setting fire to mattresses and seizing an assault rifle from a guard before authorities said the situation was brought under control.

Lawmaker Zeinab al-Kinani, who was part of a delegation that negotiated with the prisoners, said they demanded pardons and also the replacement of prison staff who they said were mistreating inmates.


Prosecutors seek airliner retrial

LONDON | British prosecutors said Friday night they would seek a retrial in the case of three British Muslims suspected of plotting to blow up trans-Atlantic airliners.

The men are accused of plotting to down seven airliners in August 2006 with liquid explosives disguised as soft drinks smuggled onto the planes. They planned to destroy planes headed to the United States and Canada, officials said.

Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer said the public interest in the case merited another trial even though two earlier cases had ended inconclusively.


Deadly riots erupt in capital

KAMPALA | Rioters angry over political and land issues clashed with government forces for a second day Friday, and at least six people were killed in Uganda’s capital and an outlying area.

The violence, which has killed a total of 13 people since Thursday, stems from disputes between the government and members of the Buganda, one of Uganda’s four ancient kingdoms. Members of the Buganda ethnic group have clashed previously with the government over land rights.

The possibility that the violence would continue Saturday increased after police said they would prevent Buganda King Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II from traveling to a political rally.


Veteran communist president quits

CHISINAU | Moldova’s veteran President Vladimir Voronin on Friday said he was handing power to his Western-leaning opponents, ending eight years of communist rule in Europe’s poorest nation.

He resigned after a group of pro-European parties won a parliamentary election in July. The four-party coalition gained enough seats to form a government but not to elect a president, which may prolong political deadlock for months.

Mr. Voronin, in power since 2001, cannot run for a third consecutive term. Parliament later voted on a decision appointing the assembly’s speaker to the post of acting president, in accordance with the constitution.


Refugees resettled

COLOMBO | Sri Lankan authorities sent home nearly 10,000 war refugees Friday amid growing international concern for the nearly 300,000 Tamil civilians still detained in government-run camps.

The civilians were displaced during a military offensive that crushed the Tamil Tiger rebel group in May and ended the island’s decades-old civil war.

Since then, the displaced ethnic Tamils have been confined to overcrowded, military-run camps, where their movements are restricted and sanitation is poor. Aid workers fear conditions will become dire when monsoon rains start next month.

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