- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 7, 2010

NORTH KOREA

American faces 8 years in prison

SEOUL | A North Korean court Wednesday sentenced an American to eight years of hard labor for illegal entry and hostile acts.

Aijalon Mahli Gomes “admitted all the charges” when he appeared in court in Pyongyang, the Korean Central News Agency reported. Mr. Gomes, 30, from Boston, was formerly an English teacher in South Korea. He reportedly crossed the border from China on Jan. 25.

Last month, North Korea freed religious activist Robert Park, who had crossed into the country from China by walking over a frozen river on Christmas Day.

Last year, two American journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, also were arrested by North Korea on the border with China. They were sentenced to 12 years in prison, but freed in August as part of a diplomatic mission spearheaded by former President Bill Clinton.

INDIA

Maoists kill 75 in police massacre

RAIPUR | Maoist rebels ambushed and killed 75 policemen in the jungles of central India on Tuesday in the worst-ever massacre of security forces by the left-wing extremists, officials said.

A patrol from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) was attacked at dawn in the state of Chhattisgarh, and when reinforcements rushed to the scene, they were surrounded by hundreds of heavily armed rebels.

In a hail of automatic gunfire and landmine explosions, 75 officers were killed, seven were injured and a heavily armored anti-mine vehicle sent to retrieve the wounded was blown up, government officials and police told Agence France-Presse.

FRANCE

Police probing source of infidelity rumors

PARIS | Police are investigating who started rumors of infidelity involving President Nicolas Sarkozy and France’s first lady, which began on a blog and spread to newspapers overseas, the Paris prosecutor’s office said Tuesday.

Mr. Sarkozy’s lawyer, Thierry Herzog, said in a radio interview Monday evening that he did not exclude the possibility the allegations of “totally unfounded liaisons” had been planted in a bid to take down the glamorous couple.

The investigation was opened based on a complaint filed March 25 by the owner of a weekly newspaper whose blog carried the initial rumors that claimed that both the president and his wife were involved in relationships outside their marriage.

SUDAN

Ex-rebels announce boycott of elections

KHARTOUM | The ex-rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement said Tuesday it would boycott Sunday’s elections in the north, casting further doubt on the credibility of Sudan’s upcoming multiparty elections.

“After reviewing the situation … we the SPLM for the northern sector have arrived at the conclusion to boycott elections in the 13 northern states of Sudan,” excluding the sensitive states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan, Secretary General Pagan Amum said after a meeting of the SPLM political bureau.

Last week, the SPLM announced the withdrawal of its presidential candidate, Yasser Arman, a key challenger to President Omar Bashir, and said it would boycott elections in war-torn Darfur in west Sudan.

Sudan is due to hold its first multiparty election since 1986 on Sunday.

BRAZIL

Flooding claims 77 lives in Rio

RIO DE JANEIRO | Flooding from torrential rains and deadly mudslides claimed at least 77 lives in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro state, authorities said Tuesday.

Civil defense officials said about half of the fatalities occurred in the city of Rio de Janeiro, where authorities urged residents to remain indoors and not venture downtown, where streets were impassable.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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