- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Tibet shut ahead of anniversary

BEIJING | China has closed Tibet to foreign tourists and deployed soldiers armed with machine guns in the streets of Beijing - part of a several stringent security measures ahead of the 60th anniversary of communist rule. Even kite-flying has been banned in the capital.

Although the Oct. 1 commemorations, including a massive military review and speech by President Hu Jintao, are centered on Beijing, the clampdown extends to the farthest reaches of the sprawling nation.

Online, blocks on sensitive political content and social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook have been expanded, and there has been a spike in e-mail spam containing spyware sent to foreign journalists.

Security in the capital is as tight and in some ways even tighter than during last year’s Beijing Olympic Games, with submachine gun-toting SWAT units among the crowds in a city center festooned with national flags and colorful dioramas.


Security tight after warnings

NEW DELHI | India said Tuesday it was increasing security to thwart possible terrorist strikes in the country days after Israel and Australia issued warnings to its citizens to avoid traveling to Indian cities.

Australia’s Victoria state premier, John Brumby, canceled his trip to Mumbai this week after the Australian government issued a travel warning to avoid the city.

Last week, Indian officials said they were in contact with Israel after a television report said Jerusalem had a “pinpoint” intelligence tip-off about Pakistani militants attacking India in the coming weeks. India is a popular destination for Israeli vacationers.


U.S. soldier charged in base death

BAGHDAD | A U.S. soldier has been charged with murder in the slaying of a civilian contractor on an American base in Iraq, the military said Tuesday.

Spc. Beyshee Velez of Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, was charged Monday in the Sept. 13 shooting death of a contractor who worked for Houston-based KBR at Camp Speicher in the city of Tikrit.

The 31-year-old suspect faces dishonorable discharge and a maximum sentence of life in prison if found guilty. Spc. Velez is assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division. The slain KBR employee, 27-year-old Lucas Vinson, was from Leesville, La.


Chen indicted again on graft

TAIPEI | Former Taiwanese leader Chen Shui-bian, sentenced to life in prison earlier this month for graft, was indicted again Tuesday on more charges on seizing government money, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors indicted Chen, a former National Security Council secretary-general and a former deputy foreign minister on suspicion of taking foreign affairs-related funds, Taiwan’s Supreme Prosecutors Office said.

Chen was indicted on suspicion of taking $330,000 worth of funds from the foreign ministry and using the money for his son’s overseas education, the office said.


2 acquitted in killing of U.S. brothers

BELGRADE | The Serbian war crimes court acquitted two former Serb policemen Tuesday of collaborating in the execution-style slaying of three Albanian-American brothers in 1999.

The former policemen were accused of torture and other crimes while handing over the three brothers - Illy, Mehmet and Agron Bytyqi - to members of a special Serbian police unit who fatally shot them in a training camp in eastern Serbia.

The bodies of the brothers were discovered in 2001, bound and blindfolded in a trash-filled mass grave near the camp’s fence, two years after they left their New York pizza business to join rebels fighting for Kosovo’s secession from Serbia.

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