- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 23, 2009

IRAN

Plane crash mars military parade

TEHRAN | President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tuesday at a military parade that Iran is stronger than ever and warned that its military will “cut the hand” of anyone who attacks. But the parade was marred when an air force plane crashed, killing seven people, according to state radio.

State TV showed video footage of burning wreckage from the military plane surrounded by fire trucks in farmlands south of Tehran. There was no immediate word on the cause of the crash. State radio and television did not specify the type of plane that crashed, saying only that it was used for transport.

The parade marked the anniversary of the start of the 1980-88 Iraq-Iran war in which an estimated 1 million people were killed.

Iran’s military readiness is such that “no power dares imagine an invasion against Iran,” Mr. Ahmadinejad said in a speech at the parade. “The Iranian nation will resist all invaders.”

“Our armed forces will cut the hand of anyone in the world before it pulls the trigger against the Iranian nation,” he said.

IRAQ

President to press U.N. on debt

BAGHDAD | Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said Tuesday that he will press his government’s case before the United Nations this week to have the country’s remaining multibillion-dollar Saddam Hussein-era debts dropped.

Mr. Talabani said he will make the appeal in New York at the General Assembly meeting, which starts Wednesday. With its economy hit hard by falling oil prices, Iraq has been seeking the cancellation of about $25 billion in U.N.-mandated reparations for Saddam’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

The government has also asked other Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, to cancel other remaining debts.

YEMEN

Aid group sees humanitarian crisis

SAN’A | The international aid group Oxfam warned Tuesday that Yemen could soon face a humanitarian crisis as a result of the escalation of fighting in August between government forces and northern rebels seeking autonomy.

U.N. groups say about 150,000 people have been made refugees since the fighting began in 2004 and thousands are living in official and makeshift camps.

The situation has worsened since San’a launched Operation Scorched Earth last month in an attempt to crush rebels of the Shi’ite Zaydi sect in Saada and Amran provinces.

A report earlier this month by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace warned that a combination of events could weaken government authority and destabilize the region.

Earlier this month, two army air raids were reported to have killed dozens of civilians and were condemned by aid organizations as well as Yemeni rights groups. Media have had difficulty reaching the conflict zone and cease-fire offers by each side have come to nothing.

TURKEY

Archaeologists find Trojan-era couple

ANKARA | Archaeologists in the ancient city of Troy have found the remains of a man and a woman thought to have died in 1,200 B.C., the time of the legendary war chronicled by Homer, a leading German professor said Tuesday.

Ernst Pernicka, a University of Tubingen professor of archaeometry who is leading excavations on the site in northwestern Turkey, said the bodies were found near a defense line within the city built in the late Bronze Age.

The discovery could add to evidence that Troy’s lower area was bigger in the late Bronze Age than previously thought, changing scholars’ perceptions about the city of the “Iliad.”

Ancient Troy, located at the mouth of the Dardanelles not far south of Istanbul, was unearthed in the 1870s by Heinrich Schliemann, the German entrepreneur and pioneering archaeologist who discovered the steep and windy city described by Homer.

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