- - Monday, March 7, 2011


Military swears in new post-Mubarak Cabinet

CAIRO | Egypt’s military rulers Monday swore in a Cabinet that includes new faces in key ministries, responding to protesters’ demands that the transition government be free of cronies of ousted President Hosni Mubarak.

The new Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Essam Sharaf, a U.S.-educated civil engineer, is expected to be met with the approval of the pro-reform groups that led the 18-day uprising that forced Mr. Mubarak to step down on Feb. 11.

Among the most significant changes, Maj. Gen. Mansour el-Essawy, a former Cairo security chief, replaced Mahmoud Wagdi, as interior minister in charge of the police forces. Nabil Elaraby, a former U.N. ambassador, replaced Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul-Gheit.


Human rights group to monitor trials

VIENNA, Austria | Europe’s main human rights watchdog said Monday it will send observers to Belarus to monitor the trials of opposition political figures and protesters targeted in a postelection crackdown.

Belarus started putting dissidents on trial last month to the dismay of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which criticized secrecy surrounding the first court proceedings.

Belarus sentenced opposition activist Vasily Parfenkov to four years in a high-security prison for his part in a December rally against the re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko, often called “Europe’s last dictator.” He was the first to be tried of about 30 people being held from the protest.


Police link terrorist suspects to al Qaeda

NAIROBI | Nine suspects wanted for terrorist attacks in Kenya trained with a militia group in Somalia linked to al Qaeda, police said Monday.

Deputy police spokesman Charles Wahongo said suspects are responsible for a series of unresolved gun and grenade attacks last year. He said they received training from the terrorist group, al-Shabab, although they could have acted independently.

Three grenades exploded at a political rally in downtown Nairobi in June, killing six people. In December, two traffic police died when they were shot and a third was seriously injured by a grenade. One person was killed in a grenade attack on a bus company.

Of the nine suspects, two were killed by police. The other seven remain at large.


Authorities target opium fields

YANGON | The military government eradicated about one-sixth of the country’s opium fields in the most recent growing season, as part of a plan to completely eliminate the illicit drug.

The state-run Myanmar Ahlin newspaper said Monday that authorities destroyed several hundred acres of opium in the last week of February, part of a total of 15,000 acres of opium that have been eliminated.

Myanmar has about 100,000 acres of opium fields, making it the world’s second-largest producer behind Afghanistan.


Hackers attack Finance Ministry

PARIS | Hackers infiltrated Finance Ministry computers in search of information about France’s leadership of the Group of 20 leading economies in the biggest cyber-attack against the government, officials said.

France holds the rotating leadership of the G-20 this year and is hosting a series of meetings aimed at improving relations among the world’s top economies.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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