- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Pakistani convicted in Mumbai siege

MUMBAI | An Indian court on Monday convicted the only surviving gunman in the bloody 2008 Mumbai siege, ruling that Mohammed Ajmal Kasab was guilty of murder and waging war for his role in the attacks that left 166 people dead and deeply shook India. Two Indians accused of helping plot the violence were acquitted.

The verdict also implicated Pakistanis still at large in the attacks, which is likely to complicate recent attempts by Islamabad and New Delhi to rekindle formal peace talks. Calls for swift retribution rang out from the streets of Mumbai, while in Pakistan doubts swirled about India’s intentions and the fairness of the trial.

Kasab was convicted on nearly all the 86 charges against him.

A sentencing hearing was scheduled for Tuesday. He faces a possible death sentence.


Reports: Kim Jong-il visiting China

SEOUL | Reclusive North Korean leader Kim Jong-il arrived on a luxury 17-car train in China on Monday, reports said, in what would be his first journey abroad in years as his regime faces a worsening economy and speculation that it may have torpedoed a South Korean warship.

Photos taken in the Chinese port city of Dalian showed a man in sunglasses who appeared to be Mr. Kim getting into a car, surrounding by security personnel.

Mr. Kim’s visit, if confirmed, comes at an awkward time for Beijing. The Chinese leadership has been trying to get Mr. Kim to agree to return to six-nation nuclear disarmament talks stalled now for a year, and thought it had won the North Korean dictator’s assent in October.

Since then, prospects for negotiations have dimmed. Pyongyang has been unwilling to comply with requests from the U.S. to resume the talks, and tensions have risen between North Korea and South Korea, partly over the mysterious ship sinking in late March in which 46 sailors were killed.


Merkel Cabinet OKs $29.6 billion for Greece

BERLIN | Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Cabinet approved legislation on Monday that would give Greece $29.6 billion over three years as part of a wider bailout, as the German government acknowledged that letting Greece go bankrupt could send the euro into a tailspin and hurt Germany’s own economy.

The European Central Bank, meanwhile, suspended its rating limits on Greek debt.

European governments and the International Monetary Fund agreed Sunday to give $145 billion in loans to Greece over three years. The loans were approved after Athens adopted a new round of austerity measures that provoked fresh uproar among Greek workers.

IMF officials say Greece could start receiving money from the rescue package in about a week.


Video shows Taliban boss alive

KABUL | The leader of Pakistan’s Taliban appeared in a video Monday threatening attacks against the U.S. three months after American and Pakistani officials thought he died in a U.S. missile strike.

Hakimullah Mehsud’s emergence occurred as a suicide bomber attacked the gate to a CIA base where seven agency employees were killed in December. The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for that bombing, and Monday’s attack could have been aimed at showing that the group was back in business despite months of setbacks from relentless U.S. missile strikes and a Pakistani military offensive.

A video posted on militant websites and broadcast Monday by Pakistani television showed Mehsud seated between two masked, armed men, speaking in Pashto with English subtitles.


Islamists vow to end piracy; pirates flee

MOGADISHU | A hard-line Islamist militia vowed Monday to end piracy in Somalia by imposing Shariah law, after seizing control of a notorious nest of pirates and forcing them to flee.

The pirates abandoned the port of Harardhere and sailed three recently captured vessels toward another base, a day after the Hezb al-Islam militia took over the town in northern Somalia.

Harardhere was one of the main hide-outs for the pirate gangs that have turned the waters off Somalia into a danger zone for foreign vessels, which they capture exclusively for ransom.

Local residents said the three vessels — Seychelles-owned MV Rak Afrikana, a Norwegian chemical tanker and a Kenyan-flagged fishing boat — had been moved up the coast from Harardhere.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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