World Digest: Aug. 6, 2013

August 6, 2013
PAKISTAN
Gunmen kill 13 in attack on bus convoy

Dozens of gunmen in police uniforms fatally shot 13 people they pulled off of a convoy of buses in southwest Pakistan and dumped their bodies in a nearby ravine, officials said Tuesday.

The motive for the attack Monday night is unclear because no one has asserted responsibility. But suspicion may fall on separatists who have been waging a low-level insurgency in Baluchistan province for decades.

The buses were headed to central Punjab province, and the separatists have a history of attacking Punjabis, whom they view as outsiders encroaching on their independence. Baluchistan is also home to many Islamist militants, who have carried out attacks in the past, especially on minority Shiite Muslims.

Paramilitary troops provide protection for bus convoys moving through Baluchistan. But gunmen distracted the troops by shooting at a nearby oil tanker, said Kashif Nabi, a local government administrator.

— Associated Press

ZIMBABWE
Government targets foreign-owned mines

President Robert Mugabe’s government plans to seize control of foreign-owned mines without paying for them as part of a program to accumulate $7 billion in assets after his election victory last Wednesday, a minister said Tuesday.

The government will compensate bank owners as it takes control of their companies, Saviour Kasukuwere, the minister in charge of the program compelling foreign companies to cede 51 percent of their assets to black investors or the government, said in an interview in Harare, the capital. His comments echo a suggestion made by Mugabe earlier this year.

“When it comes to natural resources, Zimbabwe will not pay for her resources,” Kasukuwere said. “If they don’t want to follow the law, that’s their problem.” Noncomplying mine owners risk losing their licenses, he said.

Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum Holdings, Barclays and Standard Chartered are among companies that operate in the country. Other industries may have to yield smaller stakes to black owners, Kasukuwere said. Metals and minerals, including platinum and gold, accounted for 71 percent, or $719.9 million, in exports in the first four months of this year, the state-controlled Herald newspaper said, citing the Finance Ministry.

— Bloomberg News

Taliban’s leader says it will boycott Afghan election: The Taliban will not take part in Afghanistan’s presidential election next year and will wage war until foreign troops leave the country, the group’s elusive leader, Mohammad Omar, said in a message released Tuesday. The announcement is likely to frustrate the international community, which had been hoping that the resumption of stalled peace talks in the Persian Gulf state of Qatar would lead to the Islamist group’s participation in the April election.

Poll: Most Israelis reject returning to pre-1967 borders: Most Israelis would oppose any peace deal with the Palestinians that involved withdrawing to pre-1967 cease-fire lines, even if there was agreement on land swaps to accommodate Jewish settlements, according to a poll released Tuesday. The survey by the liberal Israel Democracy Institute showed that 65.6 percent of those questioned did not expect to see a peace deal within a year amid talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

Japan unveils destroyer amid maritime tensions: Japan on Tuesday unveiled its biggest warship since World War II, a huge flat-top destroyer that has raised eyebrows in China and elsewhere because it bears a strong resemblance to a conventional aircraft carrier. Although the ship — dubbed “Izumo” — has been in the works since 2009, its unveiling comes as Japan and China are locked in a dispute over several small islands located between southern Japan and Taiwan.

U.S. requests extradition of terrorism suspect from Nigeria: Nigeria is asking a court to grant a request to extradite a citizen wanted in the United States on terrorism charges. According to court papers, the U.S. Embassy is requesting the extradition of Lawal Olaniyi Babafemi on a federal indictment charging that he provided support to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Python strangles 2 boys in Canada: A 100-pound python blamed in the strangling deaths of two Canadian boys in New Brunswick apparently escaped from its pet store enclosure, slithered through a ventilation system and fell through the ceiling into the room where the young brothers were sleeping, the shop owner said Tuesday. A snake expert said it was possible that the python was spooked and simply clung to whatever it landed on. Autopsies on Noah Barthe, 5, and brother Connor Barthe, 7, were being performed Tuesday.

— From news services

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