- The Washington Times - Friday, February 12, 2010

PAKISTAN

Suicide bombers attack police, kill 15

ISLAMABAD | Two suspected suicide bombers attacked police in northwestern Pakistan Thursday killing 15 people and wounding about 20, including a town police chief, a doctor and police said.

The bombing in Bannu town, 160 miles southwest of Islamabad and near the North Waziristan militant enclave on the Afghan border, was the second attack on police in as many days. The violence has come as the government says it thinks its biggest militant enemy, Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud, is dead.

The first bomb went off inside a police compound with the second, minutes later, just outside, police said.

THAILAND

Korean arms plane crew to be deported

BANGKOK | Thai prosecutors dropped charges against the five-man crew of an aircraft accused of smuggling weapons from North Korea, saying Thursday the men might be guilty but would be deported to preserve good relations with their home countries.

The Attorney General’s Office said the decision was made after the governments of Belarus and Kazakhstan contacted the Thai Foreign Ministry and requested the crew’s release so they can be investigated at home.

The weapons’ ultimate destination remains a mystery, though Thailand has said it may have been Iran.

INDIA

Mumbai terror attack lawyer killed

MUMBAI | The attorney for one of the suspects in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack was shot and killed Thursday, police and a colleague said.

Shahid Azmi was representing Fahim Ansari, an Indian national accused of helping facilitate the attack on India’s financial capital in November 2008.

A lawyer colleague of Mr. Azmi, Rashid Mirza, said unidentified men opened fire on Mr. Azmi near his home in suburban Mumbai.

Mr. Ansari is on trial with Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving Pakistani gunman in the Mumbai terror attack, and Ahmed Sabauddin, another Indian accused of providing maps that helped the attackers. The three-day siege of India’s financial capital left 166 dead.

INDONESIA

Ex-anti-graft chief jailed in murder

JAKARTA Indonesia’s former anti-graft chief was sentenced to 18 years in jail on Thursday for his role in the murder of a businessman.

The case dealt a temporary blow to the reputation of the Corruption Eradication Commission, one of Indonesia’s key weapons in the fight against graft.

Antasari Azhar, 56, had been accused of ordering the killing of Nasrudin Zulkarnaen after the director of a state-owned firm had threatened to reveal that Azhar was having an affair with the businessman’s third wife, a caddy at a local golf club.

NORTH KOREA

U.N. envoy meets with No. 2 official

SEOUL | The highest-ranking U.N. diplomat to visit North Korea in years met Thursday with its No. 2 official as part of an international push to get the communist government to rejoin nuclear disarmament talks.

U.N. political chief B. Lynn Pascoe sat down with Kim Yong Nam, broadcaster APTN reported from Pyongyang. As head of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly, he is second in the chain of command after North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

Mr. Pascoe, making a four-day trip to the North Korean capital, verbally conveyed a message from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to Kim Jong-il, according to APTN. The message and a gift from the U.N. chief - a South Korean citizen - later were relayed to the North Korean leader, Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency reported, without providing details.

As they met in Pyongyang, top nuclear negotiators from North Korea and China held talks Thursday in Beijing for a third day to discuss how to jump-start the six-nation talks aimed at ending the North’s nuclear weapons program in exchange for aid.

HONG KONG

Murder conviction of American overturned

HONG KONG | Hong Kong’s highest court overturned the murder conviction of an American expatriate in a stunning reversal Thursday and ordered that she be retried on charges she drugged her husband with a laced milkshake and bludgeoned him to death more than six years ago.

Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal ruled that prosecutors improperly questioned Nancy Kissel during the trial and that the judge wrongly allowed hearsay evidence. But the five-judge panel ordered that she be kept in custody pending a bail application ahead of her second trial.

Mrs. Kissel, a 45-year-old mother of three from Adrian, Mich., whose family has also lived in Minneapolis, has been serving a life sentence since she was convicted in September 2005.

American Robert Kissel was an investment banker at the Hong Kong offices of Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch, earning $5.25 million in the three years before his death, according to court documents.

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