- The Washington Times - Friday, February 19, 2010

IRAQ

Suicide bomber kills 13 in Ramadi

BAGHDAD | A suicide car bomb exploded Thursday outside the gate of the main government compound in Ramadi, the capital of Iraq’s Anbar province, killing at least 13 people, including four police officers, a health official said.

The attacker detonated his explosive-packed car at the compound housing the governor’s office, police headquarters and courts.

The province, where al Qaeda-backed Sunni insurgents once held sway, has seen a rise in attacks against security forces and government officials in recent months. The incident also comes amid fears that next month’s elections will stoke political violence.

UNITED NATIONS

Climate chief quits, leaves talks hanging

AMSTERDAM | The sharp-tongued U.N. official who shepherded troubled climate talks for nearly four years announced his resignation Thursday, leaving an uncertain path to a new treaty on global warming.

Exhausted and frustrated by unrelenting bickering between rich and poor countries, Yvo de Boer said he will step down July 1 to work in business and academia.

With no obvious successor in sight, fears were voiced that whoever follows will be far less forceful than the skilled former civil servant from the Netherlands.

His departure takes effect five months before 193 nations reconvene in Cancun, Mexico, for another attempt to reach a worldwide legal agreement on controlling greenhouse-gas emissions, thought to be responsible for the gradual heating of the Earth that some scientists predict will worsen weather-related disasters.

RUSSIA

Medvedev launches police reform

MOSCOW | Russian President Dmitry Medvedev fired two top Interior Ministry officials Thursday and said he would slash thousands of ministry jobs in an attempt to reform a police force widely criticized for corruption and abuse.

Mr. Medvedev said some 15,000 cases of police corruption were logged last year, which he said was “just the tip of the iceberg.”

Ten regional police chiefs were among 15 generals also dismissed in the most radical ministerial shake-up since Mr. Medvedev came to power in 2008, while the president told police officials he wanted ministry personnel numbers cut in half, to about 10,000.

SAUDI ARABIA

Yemen rebels free 2 soldiers

RIYADH | Yemeni Shi’ite rebels handed over two captive Saudi soldiers via Yemeni authorities Thursday as part of efforts to end a long-running conflict in northern provinces bordering Saudi Arabia, a government official said.

A Saudi Defense Ministry spokesman said the two men “were exhausted but in decent shape.”

“Assistant Defense Minister Prince Khaled bin Sultan welcomed them at Riyadh’s military base,” the spokesman added. Two more Saudi soldiers are still being held by the rebels.

Riyadh, sucked into the fighting with rebels in November, had said returning the soldiers would help prove their captors were serious about ending their conflict with Saudi Arabia.

EGYPT

Rally to greet ElBaradei faces ban

CAIRO | Egypt is poised to ban any gatherings in Cairo to mark the planned return Friday of former U.N. nuclear-watchdog chief and potential presidential candidate Mohamed ElBaradei, security sources said.

The 2005 Nobel laureate, who is expected to fly home Friday afternoon, has repeatedly called for democratic change in Egypt since stepping down as head of the International Atomic Energy Agency in November.

MEXICO

Son of drug suspect sent to U.S.

MEXICO CITY | A man accused of being an influential, second-generation member of the Sinaloa drug cartel was extradited from Mexico to the United States on Thursday on charges he helped move tons of cocaine from Colombia to California, New York and Chicago.

Vicente Zambada Niebla was turned over to U.S. authorities at the international bridge connecting Matamoros to Brownsville, Texas, Mexico’s attorney general’s office announced.

Mr. Zambada’s father, Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, controls the cartel along with Mexico’s most-wanted drug lord, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, according to law enforcement officials.

NORWAY

Iranian ex-envoy granted asylum

OSLO | Norway has granted asylum to an Oslo-based Iranian diplomat who resigned in January to protest his government’s violent response to opposition demonstrations in Tehran, officials said Thursday.

The Norwegian Immigration Directorate gave Mohammed Reza Heydari and his family permission to remain in Norway as political refugees after going through “all necessary information pertaining to the case,” directorate spokeswoman Bente Engelsand said.

Mr. Heydari told national broadcaster NRK on Jan. 5 that he quit his consular post at the Iranian Embassy in Norway in protest after eight Iranian demonstrators were killed during a Dec. 27 opposition rally in Tehran.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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