- - Sunday, August 26, 2012


BAGHDAD — Gunmen killed eight police and soldiers in Iraq Sunday, police said, the latest onslaught meant to undermine the Baghdad government.

In the first attack, insurgents in a moving vehicle opened fire from weapons with silencers at a police patrol in Ur, a predominantly Shiite neighborhood of Baghdad, police said. Two policemen were killed and a third was wounded in the early morning shooting.

Several hours later, gunmen also using pistols fitted with silencers killed three private security guards at an amusement park in eastern Baghdad.

In the western province of Anbar, two roadside bombs went off on an army patrol near Fallujah, killing three soldiers, police and hospital officials said.

Security forces and government offices are top targets for insurgents seeking to undermine the Shiite-led Iraqi government.


Mugabe’s cronies put wildlife at risk

HARARE — A consortium of wildlife ranchers says tens of thousands of animals face annihilation in a wave of land takeovers in southeastern Zimbabwe by politicians of President Robert Mugabe’s political party.

The Save Valley Conservancy said Sunday that thousands of people’s livelihoods also are threatened in the 1,000 square mile nature preserve and surrounding districts, after hunting permits and land were granted to 25 leaders of the Zimbawe African National Union-Political Front in what was called a black-empowerment program.

In Sunday newspaper advertisements, the consortium said “greedy individuals” — including a provincial governor and a Mugabe Cabinet minister — had used color as “a racial tool” to diminish world-renowned wildlife conservation for short-term gain.


Typhoon cuts power to 30,000 in Okinawa

TOKYO — The strongest typhoon to hit Okinawa in several years lashed the southern Japanese island and surrounding areas Sunday, injuring four people and cutting off power to about 30,000 households.

Residents were told to stay indoors and warned that the storm’s powerful winds could overturn cars and cause waves of up to 40 feet.

The center of slow-moving Typhoon Bolaven was expected to dump as much as 20 inches of rain over a 24-hour period, weather officials said.

About 27,000 households on the island of Amami, north of Okinawa, were without electricity, and 3,100 households on Okinawa also lost power. Video footage from Naha, the prefectural capital, showed trees thrashed by the high winds, some with broken branches, and largely empty streets.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said wind speeds near the center of the typhoon were about 112 mph, with extremely strong gusts reaching 155 mph.

Saudi Arabia

Six Yemenis held in terrorist plot

RIYADH — Saudi Arabia’s news agency says authorities have uncovered “terrorist” cells plotting attacks against Saudi police and civilians in Riyadh, the capital.

The Saudi Press Agency quotes an unidentified Interior Ministry official as saying that six Yemenis were arrested after they prepared explosives and experimented with them outside Riyadh.

The official referred to the suspected terrorists as belonging to a “deviant group,” a common Saudi description of al Qaeda.

Saudi Arabia has been cracking down on Islamic militants since al Qaeda launched a wave of attacks in the country in 2003, killing dozens.


Interior minister quits after surge in violence

TRIPOLI — Interior Minister Fawzi Abdelali resigned on Sunday after coming under fire for the performance of security forces during a surge of violence that has rocked Libya, an official from his office said.

Libyan security services have been criticized following car bombings that killed two people on the day Muslims celebrated the feast of Eid al-Fitr a week ago in Tripoli and for attacks on several Sufi shrines in the past few days.

The criticism has been led by the newly elected General National Congress, which on Sunday accused the interior ministry’s High Security Committee of being lax or even implicated in the destruction of the Sufi shrines.

Hard-line Sunni Islamists are implacably opposed to the veneration of tombs of revered Muslim figures, saying that such devotion should be reserved for God alone.

The Sufi sect, which practices a mystical form of Islam and has played a historic role in the affairs of Libya, has increasingly found itself in conflict with Qatari- and Saudi-trained Salafist preachers who consider it heretical.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports

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