- - Tuesday, October 18, 2011


EU postpones president’s visit

KIEV — The European Union on Tuesday delayed a key visit by the Ukrainian president after signals that the country’s jailed former prime minister, opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, will not be released soon.

The decision could strengthen Russia’s hand in trying to lure Ukraine back into its sphere of influence. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych met with his Russian counterpart Tuesday to discuss economic cooperation and natural gas imports.

Mrs. Tymoshenko was sentenced to seven years in prison last week on charges of abuse of office in the signing of a natural gas import contract with Russia in 2009. She dismissed her trial as Mr. Yanukovych’s attempt to bar her from parliamentary elections next year.

The U.S. and the EU have condemned the conviction as politically motivated.

Mr. Yanukovych had been slated to travel to Brussels on Thursday for talks on a long-awaited free-trade agreement with the 27-nation bloc. But the EU announced the trip has been postponed until “a later occasion when the conditions will be more conducive to making progress on the bilateral relations.”


Alleged drug gang leader arrested in Acapulco

MEXICO CITY — Mexican federal police said they have detained the leader of a drug gang locked in a bloody battle for control of the resort city of Acapulco.

The Public Safety Department said Christian Arturo Hernandez Tarin was detained Tuesday in the central state of Mexico.

The department said Mr. Hernandez Tarin led a gang known as “the street sweeper.”

Mr. Hernandez Tarin’s gang has been fighting against the local Independent Cartel of Acapulco for control of the Pacific Coast city since the 2010 arrest of suspected drugs kingpin Edgar Valdez Villarreal, known as “La Barbie.”

The department said both groups broke away from Mr. Valdez’s organization because they didn’t like the group’s new leader, sparking a wave of violence that has terrorized people in Acapulco.


Suicide car bomb kills 3 in capital

MOGADISHU — A suicide car bomb exploded near Somalia’s Foreign Ministry on Tuesday, killing at least three people as Somali and Kenyan leaders met and agreed to cooperate on military action against Islamist insurgents.

The blast rattled central Mogadishu and killed three passers-by and the suicide bomber, said police official Ali Hassan. Six people were wounded and taken to the hospital.

The explosion did not damage the ministry building but did knock down a stone wall in front of it. Hundreds of on-lookers gathered to see the demolished car. Body parts littered the street.

African Union and Somali troops battling al-Shabab militants have mostly pushed the insurgents out of Mogadishu, but al-Shabab has vowed to carry out attacks in the capital.

Earlier this month, al-Shabab detonated a suicide blast that killed more than 100 people, many of them students. It was the deadliest bombing to date in Somalia by al-Shabab.


Milan court throws out Berlusconi fraud case

MILAN — A Milan court on Tuesday refused to indict Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in a tax fraud case involving his Mediaset company.

However, the court indicted Mr. Berlusconi’s eldest son, Pier Silvio Berlusconi, Mediaset Chairman Fedele Confalonieri and nine other defendants. Trial is set for Dec. 22.

The so-called “Mediatrade” case charges fraud in the purchase of film rights by Mediaset.

Mr. Berlusconi has denied wrongdoing. Magistrate Maria Vicidomini, in throwing out the case, ruled that the prime minister had not committed the offense.


Filipino soldiers clash with rebels; 15 are killed

MANILA — A government-troops clash with Muslim guerrillas in a volatile southern province Tuesday left at least 15 combatants dead and 10 soldiers missing, officials and rebels said.

Regional military spokesman Lt. Col. Randolph Cabangbang said the fighting erupted at dawn Tuesday near Al-Barka town on Basilan Island when troops were investigating reports of rebel incursions, and that sporadic clashes continued late into the night in the remote region.

At least 12 soldiers were killed and 11 wounded, and 10 others were missing, he said.

Moro Islamic Liberation Front spokesman Von Al Haq said at least three rebels were killed in the clash. He said government troops provoked the fighting by attacking the rebels in their Al-Barka stronghold in violation of an existing cease-fire.

Army troops shelled the rebel stronghold after the initial clash, trapping villagers in the fighting, he said.

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