- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Charges filed against 5 Americans

SARGODHA | Prosecutors seeking to indict five Americans on terrorist charges submitted their case to a Pakistani judge Tuesday, accusing the men of waging war against Pakistan and plotting to attack the country.

All young Muslims from the Washington area, the five were arrested in December in Punjab province not long after reaching Pakistan. They were reported missing by their families in November after one left behind a farewell video showing scenes of war and casualties and saying Muslims must be defended.

Two of the detained Americans are of Pakistani origin, while one is of Egyptian, one of Yemeni and one of Eritrean descent.

A senior police officer said soon after the men’s arrest that authorities were likely to deport them, but it now looks increasingly like they will face trial in Pakistan on charges that carry a maximum term of life imprisonment.

The men could be indicted on as many as seven charges at their next hearing on March 10, attorney Hamid Malik told the Associated Press.


Police chief, drug czar detained

GUATEMALA CITY | Guatemala’s national police chief and anti-drug czar were detained Tuesday in a case involving stolen cocaine that led to the deaths of five police agents.

Attorney General Amilcar Velasquez told the Associated Press that Police Chief Baltazar Gonzalez, anti-drug czar Nelly Bonilla and a third, unidentified official were being held “for being linked to the robbery of drugs in Amatitlan in March 2009.”

None of the three has been charged.

Mr. Velasquez did not describe how the death of the agents was related to the stolen cocaine in Amatitlan, just south of Guatemala City.

Mr. Gonzalez is the second national police chief to be detained for purported drug ties in the past year. In September, Porfirio Perez was suspended and later detained for purportedly stealing $300,000 from smugglers. He is awaiting trial.


Revised missile shield accord approved

WARSAW | Poland on Tuesday agreed to a new version of a deal on stationing an American missile shield, a government statement said, adding it would be aimed essentially at potential threats from Iran.

In September, President Obama shelved a plan by his predecessor, George W. Bush, to deploy a missile shield in Poland and a radar base in the Czech Republic by 2013 that Russia had slammed as a grave security threat.

But Mr. Obama’s team then said it wanted to deploy a new SM-3 anti-missile system in Poland and the neighboring Czech Republic in 2015.


U.S., Georgia hold joint exercises

BATUMI | U.S. naval forces started exercises with Georgia’s coast guard Tuesday along the Black Sea coast, in a sign of Washington’s support for the government of President Mikhail Saakashvili.

The start of the two-day exercises came as Russia’s Federal Security Service said it had finished setting up a coast guard division in the breakaway region of Abkhazia.

Black Sea tensions have eased since a row last year over the seizure by the Georgian coast guard of ships trying to trade with Abkhazia, recognized by Russia as an independent state after a brief war with Georgia in 2008.


Soldier from North defects to South

SEOUL | A North Korean soldier defected to the South across the heavily militarized border separating the two on Tuesday, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported, citing a government source.

The soldier crossed into the eastern province of Gangwon and expressed a wish to defect, the unidentified source said. The circumstances of the reported defection were being investigated.


Fossils found of snake eating dinosaur egg

BANGKOK | The fossilized remains of a 67 million-year-old snake found coiled around a dinosaur egg offer rare insight into the ancient reptile’s dining habits and evolution, scientists said Tuesday.

The findings, which appeared in Tuesday’s issue of the PLoS Biology journal, provide the first evidence that the 11.5-foot-long snake fed on eggs and hatchlings of saurapod dinosaurs, meaning it was one of the few predators to prey on the long-necked herbivores.

University of Michigan paleontologist Jeff Wilson, who examined the fossils in 2001, is credited with recognizing the snake bones amid the crushed dinosaur eggs and bones of hatchlings. Dhananjay Mohabey of India’s Geological Survey discovered the fossilized remains in the western state of Gujarat in 1987, but he was only able to make out the dinosaur eggshells and limb bones.


Landslides kill 70, 250 missing

BUDUDA | Rivers of mud swamped houses, stores and at least one school after heavy rains in this Central African country, killing at least 70 people with some 250 still missing, officials and survivors said Tuesday.

Rains that began Monday evening continued through the night, triggering landslides in the Bududa region, 170 miles east of the capital Kampala.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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