- - Sunday, June 12, 2011


Germany seeks source of E. coli contamination

BERLIN — German authorities say they haven’t been able to resolve how sprouts at a farm became contaminated with an aggressive strain of E. coli that has been blamed for 33 deaths.

Officials determined Friday that sprouts grown at the farm in Lower Saxony state, in northern Germany, were the culprit in the outbreak - which has sickened more than 3,000 people.

The state’s agriculture ministry said Sunday that it wasn’t clear whether workers brought in the bug or whether the bacteria got onto the farm on seeds or by some other means.

The ministry said tests on about 1,100 samples, nearly 300 of them from the farm, are continuing in an effort to answer that question, but that no positive results have been produced.


Pakistan agrees to pursue Taliban fighters, insurgents

KABUL — Pakistan has agreed to target the hide-outs of Taliban fighters and other insurgents who attack neighboring Afghanistan and refuse to take part in faltering peace talks, Afghan officials said Sunday.

Many of the Taliban’s key leaders are thought to be hiding in Pakistan, and the threat of military strikes could be used to pressure fighters to negotiate.

Still, how forcefully Pakistan will go after the Taliban remains in question, and the agreement from the Pakistani government was not immediately confirmed.

Taliban fighters and other groups have long used Pakistan’s tribal areas to launch attacks on NATO troops in neighboring Afghanistan, a point of contention between the two nations.

“The message is that people who want to take part in the peace process should have the way cleared for them,” said Mohammad Masoom Stanekzai, secretary of a peace council set up by Afghanistan’s president. “To those that think war is the only means to reach their goals, there should not be a hide-out for them to continue their war.”

Mr. Stanekzai and other Afghan officials spoke to journalists Sunday after Afghan President Hamid Karzai returned from a visit to Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad.

CIA Director Leon E. Panetta also spoke separately with senior Pakistani officials about intelligence sharing and efforts to reconcile with the Taliban.


North, south leaders try to resolve border conflicts

ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA — The leaders of north and south Sudan on Sunday began seeking solutions to the crises in the border regions of Abyei and South Kordofan, one month ahead of the south’s independence.

Sudanese President Omar Bashir and Southern Sudan’s leader Salva Kiir attended an official opening ceremony hosted by Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, before heading to the African Union headquarters for the official talks.

Former South African President Thabo Mbeki also is attending the talks. He heads an African Union team trying to resolve outstanding issues between north and south ahead of southern independence on July 9.

Malik Agar, head of the northern branch of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), the ruling party in the south, said the hope was to find a “solution to big problems.”

An African Union statement before the talks said they would “focus upon key issues facing Sudan at this historic juncture.”

Representatives of the Sudanese government and leaders of the SPLM from the “two areas” of Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan were to meet Sunday and Monday, it said.


Protests reported on election anniversary

TEHRAN — Witnesses said scores of protesters gathered in Iran’s capital on the anniversary of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s disputed 2009 re-election.

The opposition website Kaleme.com said police wielding clubs tried to disperse protesters in one location, but few details were available.

Authorities deployed hundreds of police to the main streets of Tehran.

Opposition activists based outside the country had called for a silent march on the second anniversary of the election.

Claims of fraud in the vote triggered months of protests, which were met with a deadly crackdown. It was the most serious challenge to Iran’s rulers since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Also Sunday, Kaleme.com said a jailed opposition activist, Hoda Saber, died of heart failure after a week on a hunger strike.

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