- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 26, 2009

CHINA

21 indicted in July riots

BEIJING | China issued its first indictments Friday in connection with July’s bloody rioting between minority Muslim Uighurs and majority Han Chinese, the country’s worst outbreak of ethnic violence in decades.

Twenty-one people face charges including murder and arson, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. Most of those identified in the report were Uighurs, although two Han men were also named as murder suspects.

Nearly 200 people were killed and 1,700 injured in the ethnic violence in the city of Urumqi, capital of the far western region of Xinjiang. Most of the victims were believed to be Han, millions of whom migrated to Xinjiang after the imposition of communist rule in 1949.

AUSTRALIA

Baggage handler jailed for jihad book

SYDNEY | An Australian court sentenced a former Qantas Airways baggage handler wanted on terrorism-related charges in Lebanon to 12 years in prison Friday for publishing a do-it-yourself jihad book on the Internet.

A New South Wales state Supreme Court jury found Belal Khazaal, 39, guilty of making a document that could assist terrorism. The September 2003 book is not linked with a known attack. The Lebanon-born Sydney resident denied the charge and said the book was never intended to incite terrorist acts.

The 110-page book contained instructions on how to detonate bombs, shoot down planes from the ground, and assassinate senior U.S. and Australian government officials, including then-President George W. Bush.

BRITAIN

Report: Alarming rise in jailed veterans

LONDON | Depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse are behind an alarming rise in the number of former British soldiers ending up in prison, a report says - and more veterans have had tangles with the law than there are British troops in Afghanistan.

The National Association of Probation Officers report, issued Friday, added that most veterans don’t receive adequate counseling or support when they leave the armed forces.

The report comes at a difficult time for Britain, which has sent thousands of troops to Afghanistan. Many fear that as the situation worsens in Afghanistan more troops will return with a need for counseling.

By surveying probation officers across England and Wales, the union found that about 20,000 veterans have become entangled in the criminal justice system - compared to around 9,000 troops in Afghanistan.

PAKISTAN

U.N. speech features Bhutto portrait

UNITED NATIONS | Pakistan is beginning to claw its way out of the clutches of terrorists and religious extremists after decades of violence, President Asif Ali Zardari said Friday, with a portrait of his assassinated wife, Benazir Bhutto, by his side.

Mr. Zardari paid tribute to his late wife by delivering Pakistan’s speech to the U.N. General Assembly with a color portrait of her set up next to him at the lectern, a rare use of a prop at the focal point of the world body’s annual round of speeches.

Mrs. Bhutto was assassinated in a gun and suicide bomb attack in 2007 as she campaigned to return her political party to power in parliamentary elections.

Meanwhile, a missile strike by a U.S. drone aircraft killed 12 Afghan militants in Pakistan’s North Waziristan region shortly before midnight Thursday, intelligence officials and residents said.

BRITAIN

Army-budget protest behind leak

LONDON | A whistleblower leaked details of excessive expenses claims by British lawmakers because he was angry about the level of spending on troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Daily Telegraph newspaper reported Friday.

The mole, who was paid $176,000 by the newspaper, said he was motivated by anger over expenses claims for things like manure, biscuits and pornographic films rather than his own financial gain, the paper reported.

Soldiers employed as security guards in the office where public workers were blacking out parts of the claims for publication were also upset by the claims, the report added. Some of them were working between tours of Iraq and Afghanistan to earn extra money to pay for body armor, boots and gloves, the Telegraph said.

The revelations about lawmakers’ expenses claims infuriated voters, eroded support for all the main parties and effectively ended the careers of more than a dozen lawmakers.

INDONESIA

Giant baby draws spectators

KISARAN | Indonesia’s heaviest-ever newborn drew curious crowds Friday to a hospital where the boy came into the world at a record 19.2 pounds.

Akbar Risuddin was born to a diabetic mother in a 40-minute cesarean delivery that was complicated because of his unusual weight and size, Dr. Binsar Sitanggang said.

Crowds pushed to get a peek of the extraordinary boy, who measured nearly 24 inches when he was born Monday, at the Abdul Manan hospital in the northern town of Kisaran on the island of Sumatra.

The baby’s extreme weight was the result of excessive glucose from his mother during pregnancy, Dr. Sitanggang said.

Guinness World Records cites the heaviest baby as being born in the U.S. in 1879, weighing 23.75 pounds.

However, it died 11 hours after birth. The book also cites 22.5-pound babies born in Italy in 1955 and in South Africa in 1982.

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