- - Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Rebels clash with Sudanese mercenaries

BENGHAZI | Libyan rebels clashed Wednesday with Sudanese mercenaries fighting for Moammar Gadhafi near the border with Sudan.

A rebel commander in southeast Libya, Ahmed Zway, said rebel fighters had destroyed a weapons-laden vehicle belonging to a Sudanese mercenary force in clashes about 18 miles west of the southeast oasis of Kufra.

The rebels had surrounded and were trying to capture six other Sudanese vehicles mounted with heavy weapons, he said.

In previous clashes at the southern border, captured Sudanese mercenaries have said they belonged to the Darfur-based rebel group, the Justice and Equality Movement. It was not immediately known whether the mercenaries captured on Wednesday were members of JEM.

Col. Gadhafi has long provided arms, training and vehicles to various rebel groups in Sudan.


Egypt to open Rafah crossing

CAIRO | Egypt will open its only crossing with the Gaza Strip this weekend, the Cairo military government announced Wednesday, significantly easing a four-year blockade on the Hamas-ruled territory but setting up a potential conflict with Israel.

Egypt’s official Middle East News Agency said the Rafah border crossing would be opened permanently starting Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day except Fridays and holidays.

This gives Gaza Palestinians a way to freely enter and exit their territory for the first time since 2007, when Hamas overran the territory, and Israel and Egypt closed the crossings.

Israel’s crossings are more significant because they handle most cargo. A year ago, Israel significantly eased its restrictions on cargo entering Gaza, but it still severely limits entry and exit of Gazans through its northern crossing into Israel.


Brazilian activist fatally shot in Amazon

SAO PAULO | An activist fighting to protect the Amazon rain forest from loggers was fatally shot, as was his wife, Brazilian authorities said Wednesday.

The killings occurred just hours before Brazil’s lower house of Congress passed legislation that environmentalists had warned will increase deforestation in the region.

Rubber tapper Jose Claudio Ribeiro da Silva and his wife were ambushed by gunmen Tuesday in an interior city in the jungle state of Para in northern Brazil, police said. Authorities were investigating the crime but no arrests had been made.

The Catholic Land Pastoral, known as CPT, a watchdog group that tracks violence against environmental activists, said more than 1,150 activists, small farmers, judges, priests and other rural workers have been killed in disputes over preserving land since the 1988 murder of Brazil’s renowned rain forest protector Chico Mendes.

Most of the killings go unpunished, especially in the Amazon region where there is little government presence and where local governments are easily swayed by powerful loggers, ranchers and farmers who illegally clear forest to make way for more crop and pasture lands.


Budapest names Elvis honorary citizen

BUDAPEST | Budapest’s City Council has named Elvis Presley an honorary citizen of the Hungarian capital in gratitude for his support of Hungary’s anti-Soviet revolution of 1956.

Wednesday’s announcement comes nearly a month after municipal authorities named a small park - chosen by voting on the city website - after “The King.”

On Jan. 6, 1957, during his last appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” Elvis sang a gospel standard, “Peace in the Valley,” which Sullivan said reflected the singer’s concern for Hungarians’ plight after the short-lived uprising. Sullivan said Elvis wanted people to make donations to be sent to Hungary.

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