- - Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Crackdown launched in restive west

BEIJING — Chinese security forces have launched a two-month “strike hard” crackdown against violence, terrorism and radical Islam after renewed ethnic violence in the restive western region of Xinjiang, the regional government said.

The campaign began Aug. 11 and will last through Oct. 15, and includes around-the-clock patrols of trouble spots, identity checks and street searches of people and vehicles, according to a notice posted Tuesday on the regional government’s website.

Authorities will step up investigations of suspicious activity and deal with defendants even more harshly through accelerated trials, the notice said.

The region’s police department conceded that the number of rising violent incidents is on the rise and pledged to “uncover the masterminds and organizers behind such activities.”


Authorities: 5 Colombian police killed in ambush

BOGOTA — Colombian authorities say FARC rebels are believed responsible for an ambush that killed five police officers and wounded two in the southwestern coastal town of Tumaco.

Gen. Orlando Pineda is the region’s top police official. He tells the Associated Press the officers were part of a 10-man patrol that was on its way to set up a road checkpoint when it was attacked Wednesday morning.

Hospital officials say the slain police had multiple bullet wounds.

Southwestern Colombia has seen a recent uptick in attacks by FARC, a leftist insurgency fighting the state for a half century.


Rugby, sheep and sex don’t mix

WELLINGTON — First came the idea to have bikini models on motorbikes drive 1,000 sheep through New Zealand’s most cosmopolitan city. Then, the idea to urge rugby fans to abstain from sex and save their passion for the country’s team.

New Zealand is gearing up to host the Rugby World Cup next month. But its promotional plans are going awry, with residents complaining that some of the concepts for celebrating the country’s culture may just as likely invite ridicule.

“What were they thinking?” said Robyn Kippenberger, head of the Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which opposed the planned sheep run.

Organizers had planned to parade the sheep and the scantily clad women through downtown Auckland as a climax to festivals throughout the country in the build-up to the World Cup final. They canceled those plans this week amid outcry from Ms. Kippenberger and others.


Prime minister diagnosed with dengue virus

PORT-OF-SPAIN — Doctors in Trinidad say the Caribbean island’s prime minister is among the nearly 1,700 people who have been diagnosed with dengue.

Trinidad’s health minister says Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has a mild form of the mosquito-borne virus and is expected to recover. Dr. Fuad Khan says the leader likely contracted the disease during a recent walking tour in the capital of Port-of-Spain.

The prime minister’s office released a statement late Tuesday saying Mr. Persad-Bissessar is working from home.

Dr. Khan says Trinidad is fighting a dengue outbreak and warns people to take precautions.

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