- - Monday, July 9, 2012

KABUL — A manhunt was under way Monday for Taliban militants who publicly executed a woman accused of adultery, Afghan authorities said, as outrage mounted after a video of the cold-blooded killing surfaced.

President Hamid Karzai called the killing “disgusting and unforgivable,” and ordered security forces to spare no effort in arresting and punishing those responsible.

The commander of NATO’s 130,000 troops in Afghanistan, Marine Corps Gen. John Allen, offered to help local security forces track and capture the men involved in what he called “an atrocity of unspeakable cruelty”.

The brutal shooting of the lone woman before a cheering mob of men is shown in graphic detail in a video of the event in a village in Parwan province some 60 miles north of the capital, Kabul.


Mexico: U.S. agents shoot Mexican on Texas border

MEXICO CITY — The Mexican government said one of its citizens was shot by U.S. Border Patrol agents on the border with Texas, saying it condemns what it calls disproportionate use of force.

The Border Patrol said Saturday that agents had opened fire along the Rio Grande after being pelted by rocks and having a gunman point a weapon in their direction from the Mexican side of the river.

The agency said that it did not know if anyone else was hurt, but that the Mexican government had been notified. The FBI also is investigating.

The Mexican Foreign Ministry on Monday did not identify the victim, or give details of the incident, but said it told the U.S. that the use of lethal force was unacceptable.


Panel backs legalizing West Bank outposts

JERUSALEM — A government-commissioned report released Monday has recommended that Israel legalize dozens of unsanctioned West Bank settlement outposts, a move that would defy international opposition to settling on land Palestinians want for a future state.

The report, written by a committee with pro-settler sympathies, also reaffirmed Israel’s longstanding position, at odds with most of the world, that the West Bank is not occupied territory and therefore Israel has the legal right to settle it.

The panel’s recommendations, which include annulling past Supreme Court orders and other legal rulings in order to facilitate settlement construction, have not been endorsed by the government.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he welcomed the panel’s work, saying he would bring its conclusions to a special forum he established on the matter where a decision would be made.

If endorsed, the recommendations could give Mr. Netanyahu ammunition to support new settlement activity and fend off pressure from a Supreme Court that has ordered the government to take action against the existing outposts.


Rebels retreat after taking key town

KINSHASA — Congo’s newest rebel group retreated from the strategic town of Rutshuru on Monday and headed into the mountain gorilla haven of Virunga National Park, where an official said heavy bombing is preventing rangers from protecting the critically endangered primates.

“M23 have infiltrated this area and the armed forces have pulled back … so most of Rutshuru [district] appears to be under M23 control,” park director Emmanuel de Merode said. Leader Sultani Makenga said his men were retreating as they waited to hear if the government is ready to negotiate their demands over the March 2009 peace deal that had paved the way for them to join the army.

U.N. peacekeepers supporting Congo’s army have deployed helicopter gunships to bomb rebel positions, one of the mission’s spokesman, Alex Essome, said.

But Congo’s ill-equipped and ill-paid army appears no match for the rebels, who took Rutshuru on Sunday and Rumangabo on Monday.


Church of England stalls on female bishops

LONDON — The Church of England on Monday put off a final decision on allowing women to serve as bishops because of continuing disagreements between contending factions.

The action by the church’s General Synod to adjourn debate means that the issue will not come up again until November.

The decision to adjourn “gives us at least the chance of lowering the temperature and explaining ourselves to each other,” Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said.

The Church of England ordained its first women as priests in 1994. Since then, women have moved into senior positions including cathedral deans and archdeacons, but have been blocked from becoming bishops.

From wire dispatches and staff reports



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