- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 11, 2010


U.S. aid group attacked, 6 killed

ISLAMABAD | Suspected militants armed with assault rifles and a homemade bomb attacked the offices of a U.S.-based Christian aid group helping earthquake survivors in northwestern Pakistan on Wednesday, killing six Pakistani employees, police and the organization said.

The attack prompted World Vision, a major international humanitarian group, to suspend its operations in Pakistan. The assault took place in Ogi, a small town in Mansehra district that was badly hit by the 2005 Kashmir earthquake, which killed about 80,000 people and left 3 million people homeless.

Meanwhile, two suspected U.S. drone attacks killed at least 15 people in the Mazer Meda Khel area of the North Waziristan tribal region, local officials said.


Cartoonist sees plot as ‘low-tech’

STOCKHOLM | A Swedish artist who angered Muslims by drawing the Prophet Muhammad with the body of a dog said Wednesday he has no regrets and believes the suspects in a purported plot to kill him were not professionals.

Lars Vilks, who has faced numerous death threats over the controversial cartoon, told the Associated Press in an interview he has built his own defense system, including a “homemade” safe room and a barbed-wire sculpture that could electrocute potential intruders.

The 63-year-old artist said the suspects in a plot to kill him — seven people arrested in Ireland and a woman held in the U.S. — were “not the real hard professionals. I think they are rather low-tech.”

Colleen R. LaRose of Philadelphia, who had called herself JihadJane in a YouTube video, was arrested Tuesday. Irish authorities said Wednesday those arrested there were two Algerians, two Libyans, a Palestinian, a Croatian and an American woman married to one of the Algerian suspects. They were not identified by name.


U.S. official’s apology accepted

TRIPOLI | Libya has accepted an apology from a senior State Department official for a light-hearted remark he made about Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s call for holy war against Switzerland.

Last week, Libya summoned the U.S. charge d’affaires and threatened negative repercussions if the U.S. failed to apologize. A Libyan Foreign Ministry statement said Wednesday it accepted the apology and welcomed resumption of visits.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Tuesday he was sorry for his remarks. Asked on Feb. 26 to comment on Col. Gadhafi’s call for jihad, Mr. Crowley said he was reminded of Col. Gadhafi’s lengthy speech at the United Nations, which lacked “sense.”


Record 237 in race for Nobel Peace Prize

OSLO | The committee that selects the Nobel Peace Prize winner will consider a record 237 nominations for the 2010 award, a Nobel official said Wednesday.

Surpassing last year’s record of 205 nominations, 199 individuals and 38 organizations have been nominated for the coveted prize, said Geir Lundestad, the committee’s permanent nonvoting secretary.

He told the Associated Press there is a renewed interest in the prize since President Obama received the 2009 prize.


Oligarch wins suit against broadcaster

LONDON | Self-exiled Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky has won his libel case against a Kremlin-owned broadcaster that aired allegations he masterminded the murder of a former KGB agent in London.

The 64-year-old tycoon’s victory against All-Russian State Television and Radio Broadcasting is the latest round in the oligarch’s battle against the Kremlin, which has long sought to bring him before a Russian court.

Mr. Berezovsky sued after the broadcaster, known by its acronym RTR, aired a show in which it was suggested he was behind the poisoning death of renegade Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko, who died in 2006.

In the ruling at London’s High Court, Justice David Eady awarded Mr. Berezovsky about $225,000 in damages.


North to replace diplomat in Geneva

SEOUL | North Korea plans to replace its top diplomat in Switzerland who is believed to be a key manager of leader Kim Jong-il’s purported secret funds stashed overseas, a news report said Wednesday.

Ri Tcheul, North Korea’s ambassador to U.N. agencies in Geneva, is to step down as soon as late this month following about 30 years of service in Switzerland, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported, citing an unidentified diplomat in Bern.

One of Mr. Kim’s closest associates, Mr. Ri is believed to have managed the leader’s illicit money in secret bank accounts in Switzerland, the report said. There was no word on who will succeed him, Yonhap said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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