EU Calls for Sri Lankan Peace Talks After Diplomats Attacked
The shelling of two military helicopters transporting ambassadors
from France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the US and delegations from the
EU and UN was among the worst violence targeted against foreigners.
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Iraqi state television says a car bomb has killed 18 people, mostly
boys playing soccer, in the western Iraqi city of Ramadi. There is
no word on who carried out the attack in the largely Sunni city. In
other violence, a roadside bomb has killed three US soldiers as they
carried out a mission outside Baghdad. Car bombs and other blasts in
Baghdad itself killed nine people and wounded 25 despite a new
US-backed security offensive. In the northern city of Mosul, a
suicide truck bomber killed six policemen and wounded 25 others.
Meanwhile, the Iraqi foreign minister says officials from regional
states including Iran and Syria will join US and British envoys at a
meeting in Baghdad next month to seek ways to stabilize Iraq.
Sudan rejects ICC war-crime allegations
Sudan says it will not recognize the legitimacy of the International
Criminal Court, which earlier on Tuesday named the first two Darfur
war crimes suspects. The ICC's chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo
asked pre-trial judges to issues summonses for former interior
minister Ahmad Muhammad Harun and janjaweed militia leader Ali
Kushayb. They are accused of committing war crimes including mass
rape, killing, torture and other crimes against humanity. The ICC
chief prosecutor added that his investigation into crimes in Darfur
was continuing. For its part, Sudan has said it will try any Darfur
war crimes suspects on its own. The United Nations says some 200,000
people have died in the fighting and 2.5 million have been displaced
Cheney escapes bomb blast near Kabul
US Vice President Dick Cheney has pledged in talks with President
Hamid Karzai to keep supporting Afghanistan's efforts to build its
security forces and defeat Taliban insurgents. The two leaders met
in Kabul hours after a suicide bomber struck the US military base in
Bagram as Cheney was preparing to travel to the capital for the
talks. At least 14 people were killed, including three foreigners,
and nearly 30 others were wounded. The Taliban claimed
responsibility for the attack and said Cheney was the target. But US
army officials called the Taliban claim "far-fetched".
German, US, Italian ambassadors wounded
In Sri Lanka, Tamil Tiger rebels have attacked helicopters
transporting a diplomatic delegation, slightly wounding the German,
US and Italian ambassadors. The rebels fired shells at the two
helicopters as they were landing. They've since apologized for the
attack warning that travelling in a crisis area was dangerous. The
diplomats were to attend a development meeting in Batticaloa in the
country's violent east. More than 3,000 people have been killed in
Sri Lanka in the past year after a ceasefire agreement between the
government and Tamil Tiger rebels collapsed. The rebels are fighting
for an independent homeland.
France: Resolution on Iran expected soon
Iran has again stressed that it will never suspend uranium
enrichment, saying demands by the West to do so were illegal. Iran's
Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki made the statement after the
five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany met in
London on Monday to discuss more possible sanctions against Tehran.
Tehran ignored a deadline Wednesday last week to halt enrichment
which the West fears could be used to make atomic bombs. France has
said that a second resolution with economic sanctions will be agreed
on soon, despite misgivings by Russia and China who have been
reluctant to penalize Iran in the past.
South and North Korea resume talks
A South Korean government delegation has travelled to North Korea
for the first talks in seven months that are expected to focus on
food aid for the impoverished communist state. The cabinet-level
meeting reflects eased tensions since the North agreed recently at
international talks to shut down its main nuclear reactor. South
Korea's Unification Minister Lee Jae-Joung said delegates would also
focus on reunions of families separated since the Korean War of the
early 1950s. Last year, the South suspended rice and fertilizer
deliveries to North Korea after Pyongyang conducted a nuclear test
and tested missiles.
Israel pulls troops from Nablus
Israel has pulled most of its troops from the West Bank town of
Nablus after a three-day operation targeting Palestinian militants.
The army has lifted the curfew that shut down large parts of the
city in recent days, and schools and shops in the busy market area
have reopened. But Israel would not confirm the end of the raid, the
largest military operation in the West Bank in months. Israel said
it launched the operation because the vast majority of potential
suicide bombers in the past year had come from Nablus.
Airbus to cut 4,200 jobs in Germany
The German daily Die Welt is reporting that Airbus is to cut a total
of 8,000 jobs from its payroll as part of a restructuring plan to
save the planemaker billions of euros. The paper reports that 3,500
jobs will be lost in Germany, 4,200 will be lost in France.
Furthermore, die Welt reports that the entire production of Airbus's
A320 series is to moved to Germany, while the new A350 range would
largely be built in France. Airbus's major assembly plants are in
Toulouse and Hamburg. The changes are to be discussed with the
Airbus European Works Council on Wednesday.
Serbs protest against UN's Kosovo plan
Thousands of Serb protesters have been rallying outside the US
embassy in Belgrade against a United Nations plan for the future
status of the breakaway province of Kosovo. The UN plan offers
Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority the trappings of statehood but
falls short of full independence. The Serb National Council which
organised the protest said it was targetting the US embassy because
of Washington's support for Kosovo's pro-independence ethnic
Malta to apply to become 14th Eurozone country
Malta has said it will formally apply on Tuesday to become the 14th
country to join the Eurozone. The government said inflation is down
and says it's confident of meeting tough membership criteria. The
European Commission and the European Central Bank are to assess
whether the island meets all the rules, EU finance ministers will
make a final decision in June.
China leads share market decline
Share markets have fallen in Europe and America after a surprise
nine percent slump in China's main index, the Shanghai Composite.
That was its steepest fall in a decade. After weeks of record highs,
Germany's Dax index is down more than three percent at 6819. New
York's Dow Jones is down more than one percent at 12,495. The
declines follow worries that world economic growth could be slowing.
German court safeguards press freedom
Germany's top court has backed press freedoms by ruling that a
police search of a magazine's bureau and the home of one of its
journalists was illegal and breached safeguards for informants. In
2005 the magazine "Cicero" quoted from a secret report of Germany's
investigative police agency, the BKA, about the late terrorist Abu
Mussab al-Sarkawi. The Constitutional Court says prosecutors were
out of line when they ordered police to trace the informant by
searching the premises and seizing documents and computer disks.
Cicero's editor Wolfram Weimer had sought the court's ruling.
Initially, in 2005, two lower courts had permitted the searches.
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