- - Tuesday, August 16, 2011

UNITED KINGDOM

Police protected Olympic sites during riots

LONDON — British police revealed Tuesday that they sent officers to protect major shopping centers and the 2012 Olympics sites after intercepting phone and social network messages saying they were targets for rioters.

Assistant Commissioner Lynne Owens of London’s Metropolitan Police told a committee of lawmakers that police sent extra officers to London’s Oxford Circus, two malls and the Olympic Park on Aug. 8 after seeing messages on Twitter and the BlackBerry devices of people who had been arrested for rioting.

Commissioner Owens said that “through Twitter and BBM there was intelligence that the Olympic site, Westfields [shopping malls] and Oxford Street were going to be targeted.”

“We were able to secure all those places and indeed there was no damage at any of them,” she said, according to London’s Evening Standard newspaper.

The government has said it will debate whether cellphone services could be disrupted or blackouts imposed on social networks during riots - proposals that already have been fiercely opposed by civil libertarians.

PAKISTAN

Suspected drone strike kills 4 in northwest

DERA ISMAIL KHAN — A suspected U.S. drone fired missiles at a house in northwest Pakistan before dawn Tuesday, killing four militants in the country’s main sanctuary for Taliban and al Qaeda fighters near the Afghan border, Pakistani intelligence officials said.

Also in the northwest, two roadside bombs killed 12 people in Khyber region, said local government official Jamil Khan. He said one of them hit a vehicle. Mr. Khan said nine militants in the vehicle died, and that the identity of the other three dead was not yet know.

He said it was not clear who targeted the militants, suggesting that it might be infighting between two insurgent groups.

The house hit in the drone strike was located in the bazaar in Miran Shah, the main town in the North Waziristan tribal area, the intelligence officials said on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to talk to the media.

The U.S. repeatedly has demanded that Pakistan launch an offensive in North Waziristan since militants use the area to stage cross-border attacks against foreign troops in Afghanistan.

VENEZUELA

Venezuela, Iran seek to boost talks in OPEC

CARACAS — The presidents of Venezuela and Iran have agreed to work together within OPEC as economic concerns weigh on world oil prices, the Venezuelan government said Tuesday.

President Hugo Chavez spoke with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by telephone Monday, and the two agreed on the need to coordinate more closely in OPEC, the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

It cited the “ominous effects of the crisis in the dominant powers’ economies.” It also said the leaders agreed to instruct their oil ministers to maintain “fluid and constant communication.”

Venezuela and Iran traditionally have favored efforts to boost oil prices within the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Oil prices declined Tuesday amid concerns about sluggish growth in Germany. Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for September delivery was down 64 cents at $87.23 per barrel in midday trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

SOUTH SUDAN

Officials: Troops will be future peacekeepers

JUBA — An army official in South Sudan said the new country wants to contribute troops to United Nations and African Union peacekeeping missions.

Army spokesman Col. Philip Aguer said late Monday that the new army will “will be ready to go anywhere” after it transforms itself from the rebel force that used to battle north Sudan and into a conventional army.

The U.N. has peacekeeping missions around the world; the AU has missions in Sudan’s Darfur region and in Somalia.

Few African nations have contributed troops to the 9,000-strong AU force in lawless, dangerous Somalia.

Col. Aguer said sending troops to Somalia is not an immediate possibility.

South Sudan voted for independence in January and became a new country July 9.


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