Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Scores of insurgents killed in operation

Afghan and international troops killed more than 130 insurgents in six days of fighting in a once-stable area of northern Afghanistan that has experienced a recent spike in Taliban attacks, NATO said Monday. It was some of the heaviest fighting in the north this year.

The operation took place last week in the Chahar Dara district of Kunduz province against Taliban fighters who had been threatening NATO supply lines from Russia.

An estimated 700 Afghan troops and 50 international soldiers, mostly Americans, took part in the operation. A NATO statement said 130 Taliban fighters, including eight commanders, were killed.

The statement did not say how NATO arrived at the death figure but said no coalition troops or civilians were injured in the operation.

-- Associated Press


Plans will not affect church celibacy rules

The Vatican said on Monday that its plan to allow married Anglican priests to convert to Catholicism does not signal any change to its age-old rule of celibacy for the overwhelming majority of Catholic priests.

"The possibility envisioned by the Apostolic Constitution . . . does not signify any change in the Church's discipline of clerical celibacy," the Vatican said in Pope Benedict's document regulating Anglican converts.

The Vatican announced last month an initiative to make it easier for conservative Anglicans who feel their church has become too liberal to convert to Catholicism.

This stirred widespread speculation on what it could eventually mean for the celibacy rule in the Roman Catholic Church and whether men who had left the Catholic priesthood to marry and later became Anglicans could return to the Catholic priesthood and remain married.

Benedict's document ruled that out and also said unmarried Anglican priests who convert must remain celibate after their conversion.

-- Reuters


Nine men executed for role in July riots

China has executed nine men, including eight from the Muslim Uighur minority, for crimes committed during July riots that killed 200 people in the far western Xinjiang region. The men are the first to be put to death for the country's worst ethnic violence in decades.

The nine had been convicted of murder and other crimes committed during the unrest. It began July 5 when Uighurs in the regional capital of Urumqi attacked Han people, who make up China's dominant ethnicity, only to face retaliatory attacks two days later.

Four months after the riots, Xinjiang remains smothered in heavy security, with Internet access cut and most international calls blocked.

-- Associated Press


New cabinet includes Hezbollah and allies

Lebanon's prime minister formed a cabinet Monday that includes the militant group Hezbollah and its allies, ending a political deadlock that left the deeply divided nation without a government for months and threatened to ignite violence.

Saad Hariri unveiled the 30-member cabinet after more than four months of tough bargaining with his rivals in the Hezbollah-led political coalition over who would get which portfolios.

Hariri's Western-backed bloc narrowly defeated the Hezbollah-led group in June's parliamentary elections, enabling it to retain a slim majority in the 128-member legislature. But Hariri's need to include his powerful rivals in a national unity government set the stage for the months of wrangling.

-- Associated Press

Suu Kyi offers rare praise for Burma rulers: Burma's detained opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, expressed hope that U.S. engagement with the county's military rulers could spur democratic reforms, her lawyer said. In rare praise for the regime that has kept her in detention for 14 of the last 20 years, Suu Kyi thanked the junta for recently allowing her to see Kurt M. Campbell, the top U.S. official for East Asia.

Pakistan suicide bomber kills three: A suicide bomber in a rickshaw detonated his explosives near a group of policemen in the northwestern city of Peshawar, killing three people and wounding five, police said. The attack was the latest in a string of strikes that have killed more than 300 people in the past six weeks. The bloodshed appears aimed at distracting the government from its offensive against the Taliban in South Waziristan.

-- From news services

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