- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 29, 2009

IRAQ

Eid bombings kill at least 18

BAGHDAD | A string of bombings killed at least 18 people across Iraq on Monday, shattering a relative lull in violence during the celebration that marks the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

The blasts primarily targeted Iraqi security forces, which have been the focal point of insurgent attacks since U.S. troops pulled out of Iraq’s cities at the end of June. The uptick in violence also comes as the country’s shops and schools reopened after the Eid holiday that follows the end of the Muslim holy month.

The deadliest attack Monday occurred in Ramadi, about 70 miles west of Baghdad, where a suicide bomber slammed a tanker truck packed with explosives into a police post, killing at least seven people and wounding 16 more, a security official said.

The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information.

MYANMAR

U.S. seeks data on N. Korea

The top U.S. diplomat for East Asia said Monday that direct U.S. engagement with Myanmar’s military leaders could provide crucial answers on the junta’s dealings with North Korea.

The Obama administration’s seven-month policy review has resulted in a decision to engage in direct high-level talks in an effort to promote democracy in Myanmar. That is a sharp break with the former Bush administration’s policy of shunning Myanmar to protest repeated crackdowns on attempts to reinstate democratic government in the Southeast Asian nation.

Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell told reporters that the U.S. policy change on the country, which is also known as Burma, is a recognition that neither isolation nor engagement had improved miserable living conditions or political freedoms in Myanmar.

“For the first time in memory, the Burmese leadership is showing an interest in engaging with the United States, and we intend to explore that interest,” Mr. Campbell said.

UKRAINE

Authorities nix hotel on Nazi site

KIEV | Kiev authorities, facing withering criticism, have reversed a decision to build a hotel on a killing field used by Nazis during the infamous 1941 Babi Yar massacre, officials said Monday.

Still, Jewish groups worldwide were bitter that a hotel was even suggested for an area where more than 30,000 Jews were murdered.

Rights advocates and scholars praised the decision by Kiev Mayor Leonid Chernovetsky to veto the proposal. But they urged Ukrainian authorities to do more to honor the victims of one of the most tragic chapters of the Holocaust.

The massacre began 68 years ago Tuesday. The plan for the three-star hotel, which would have been called Babi Yar, was approved by the City Council this month.

GUINEA

Protesters said shot; 10 killed

CONAKRY | An Associated Press reporter says soldiers fatally shot at least 10 people who were protesting Guinea’s coup leader.

Monday’s protest in the capital’s main football stadium drew about 50,000 people. Red-bereted soldiers from the presidential guard entered the stadium and fired into the crowd, killing at least 10 people.

Tension has risen in the West African nation amid rumors military leader Capt. Moussa “Dadis” Camara may run in a presidential election scheduled for Jan. 31.

Capt. Camara came to power in a coup last December, hours after longtime dictator Lansana Conte died, and said he would not run in the election. But he has recently declared he has the right to run if he chooses.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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