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Mauritania Launches Mission to Rescue Kidnapped Workers

Mauritanian authorities have launched an operation to find three Spanish aid workers kidnapped by armed gunmen.  Sunday's abduction was the latest in a string of attacks on foreign aid workers and tourists in the West African country. Albert Vilalta, Roque Pascual, and Alicia Gamez were kidnapped by armed men on Sunday, 150 kilometers north of Mauritania's capital Nouakchott.  The Spanish aid workers were in Mauritania with the aid group Barcelona Accion Solidaria. Spain's ambassador to Mauritania Alonso Dezcallar y Mazarredo says Mauritanian authorities are using every possible means to

Suicide Bomber Targets Navy Headquarters in Pakistani Capital

Pakistani police say a suicide bomber blew himself up outside the entrance of the country's navy headquarters in Islamabad Wednesday, killing one security guard and wounding three others. Officials say the attacker walked up to a checkpoint at the entrance of the heavily-guarded complex and detonated his explosives when security forces stopped him. Insurgents in Pakistan have killed hundreds in bombings since military forces launched a major offensive in the South Waziristan tribal region two months ago. Pakistani officials said Tuesday a teenage suicide bomber killed a provincial pol

Islamist Ally Turns on Somalia's al-Shabab

In Somalia, an Islamist faction says it considers its former ally, al-Shabab, to be the greatest threat to the country.  A spokesman for the leader of the Ras Kamboni faction of Hizbul Islam says Hizbul Islam fighters are preparing to challenge al-Shabab in all areas of southern and central Somalia. The spokesman for the leader of the Ras Kamboni Brigade tells VOA the fight against al-Shabab militants, which began in late September in the southern port city of Kismayo, is expected to continue until al-Shabab is ousted from Somalia.  Abdinasir Seraar is the spokesman for Ahmed Madobe, the m

Piracy – A Fact of Life for a Maritime Nation

World piracy stretches far back through the millennia of world history. It has inspired art and romantic literature over the centuries, to include the earliest forms of theater and cinema. For those who believe everything we buy and sell in America is produced in the U.S. they may be surprised to learn that 90-percent of American commerce comes here via the sea. This clearly defines the United States as a maritime nation. This has been true for over 200 years.

Suicide Bomb Kills Pakistani Lawmaker

Pakistani officials say a teenage suicide bomber has killed a provincial politician in the country's volatile northwest. Authorities say the bomber blew himself up Tuesday and killed assembly member Shamsher Ali Khan at his house in Kanju, about 30 kilometers northwest of the Swat Valley's major town, Mingora.  Authorities say the attack occurred as the lawmaker was receiving guests at his home. Officials say about a dozen people were injured, including Khan's brother. Swat Valley was the focus of a military offensive to rid the northwestern area of Taliban militants. Insurgents in

5 Britons Detained in Iran

The British government says five Britons have been detained in Iran after their racing yacht may have inadvertently strayed into Iranian waters. The Foreign Office in London says Iranian naval vessels stopped the yacht on November 25 in the Persian Gulf.  In a Monday statement, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband says the crew was en route from Bahrain to Dubai when the incident occurred.  The yacht, owned by the Sail Bahrain company, was due to join the 580-kilometer Dubai-Muscat Offshore Sailing Race.  British news reports say the boat may have drifted into Iranian territory after

Somali Pirates Seize Greek-Owned Tanker

Maritime officials say Somalia pirates have seized an oil tanker, some 1,100 kilometers off the coast of Somalia. Authorities say the Greek-owned Maran Centaurus, with 28 crewmembers on board, was hijacked Sunday.  Officials say the tanker, which can transport more than 2-million barrels of oil, was sailing from the Middle East to the United States. A tanker full of oil would be worth millions and could pose a huge security and environmental threat.  Somali pirates have hijacked dozens of ships over the past two years, demanding and receiving millions of dollars in ransom from the

Lobo Wins Honduran Presidential Vote

Porfirio Lobo has won the presidential election in Honduras, with about 56 percent of ballots cast.  Election officials say voter turnout was high, in spite of a call by ousted President Manuel Zelaya to boycott the poll. Wealthy rancher Porfirio Lobo declared victory after election results showed a broad lead for the candidate from the opposition National Party.  The outcome was a vindication for Lobo, who narrowly lost to ousted President Manuel Zelaya in the 2005 vote.  Speaking at a rally late Sunday, Lobo told supporters he will work to improve security, create new jobs and restore

Karadzic Rejects Legitimacy of Hague Tribunal

Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic has filed a motion with the U.N. war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, challenging the legitimacy of the court to prosecute him. Karadzic faces life in prison on charges that include genocide and crimes against humanity during the Balkan wars of the 1990s.

Guinea Military Arrest Human Rights Official

Guinea's military government has arrested a prominent human rights official while United Nations investigators are in the country to find out what happened when more than 150 opposition protestors were killed two months ago.  Soldiers detained human rights leader Mouctar Diallo when he returned to the capital, Conakry, after a visit to his home village. Diallo's wife, Djenabou Diallo, says he was arrested on Thursday by men from the special service against banditry and the fight against drugs.  She says she has been denied permission to see him. Tierno Madjou Sow, President of Guinea'

US Expresses Support for Honduran Election

The United States says it supports Sunday's presidential election in Honduras as an "essential" part of a solution to that country's ongoing political crisis.  State Department spokesman Ian Kelly says the U.S. thinks it is important that the people of Honduras have the opportunity to "express their votes in a free and transparent way." But ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya says the U.S.

Prosecutors Seek 40 Years for Khmer Rouge Prison Chief

Prosecutors for Cambodia's genocide tribunal are demanding a former Khmer Rouge prison chief be jailed for 40 years for his role in the deaths of thousands of Cambodians. Kaing Guek Eav, known as Duch, expressed deep remorse in the packed courtroom in Phnom Penh Wednesday. He apologized to the Khmer Rouge victims and their relatives, taking responsibility for the deaths of more than 12,000 people who were starved and tortured under his watch. Prosecutor William Smith told the U.N.-backed tribunal that Duch should be held accountable for what he called the "unrelenting brutality" at th

Somali Insurgents Order Halt to Imported Food Aid

Islamist insurgents in Somalia have told the United Nations' World Food Program to stop importing food aid into the country. The group al-Shabab said in a statement Wednesday that the massive importing of food is ruining Somalia's agriculture sector. The rebels said the WFP must start buying food from local farmers for distribution to the needy. Al-Shabab warned Somali businesses to stop working with the U.N.

Brazil's President Welcomes Iranian Leader

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva says Iran should negotiate with the West for a "just" solution to the country's controversial nuclear program. The Brazilian leader made his comments Monday as he welcomed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Brasilia.  U.S.

Pakistan Says 18 Militants Killed in New Operation

Pakistani officials say troops backed by helicopters killed at least 18 militants during the latest offensive in the country's lawless tribal belt bordering Afghanistan. Defense officials said they launched the offensive Tuesday to target insurgents blamed for recent bombings in the country. On Monday, Pakistan's military said troops killed 18 militants while pursuing Taliban fighters during a second day of clashes in the town of Shahu Khel.  The clashes took place in the Orakzai region, near South Waziristan where Pakistani forces have been pressing an with an offensive against Talib