united nationsThe US special envoy for Sudan accused UN peacekeepers yesterday of failing to protect residents of a disputed oil-rich town in southern Sudan during deadly clashes last month. The violence in Sudan's Abyei region straddling the border of northern and semi-autonomous southern Sudan killed dozens and forced about 50,000 people from their homes. Speaking at an informal meeting of the Security Council, Richard Williamson made it clear he thought the UN mission had not met its responsibilities. "They didn't leave their garrison while 52,000 lives were shattered and nearly a hundred people perished," Williamson told council diplomats and representatives from activist groups. "UN peacekeepers and [peacekeepers'] staff in their garrison were as close as 25 feet away," he said. "Sudanese homes were burned to the ground." (Reuters)
Notorious killer put to deathTOKYO - One of Japan's most notorious serial killers, who murdered and mutilated four girls, was executed yesterday along with two convicted murderers. The hangings of Tsutomu Miyazaki and the two others marked an acceleration of executions in Japan, where rising fears over violent crime have boosted acceptance of capital punishment. (AP)
Artillery reportedly kills rebels in IraqANKARA - Artillery units killed most of a 21-member Kurdish rebel group in northern Iraq as it moved toward the Turkish border, the military said yesterday. The military's website said the shelling had rendered the group, which was trying to sneak into Turkey, "ineffective" - a term used by the military to refer to killed rebels. The military has launched several aerial cross-border attacks on suspected rebel positions in Iraq this year. The Kurdistan Workers' Party has been fighting for self-rule in southeastern Turkey. (AP)
Iranian executions of youths decriedCAIRO - Iran has sentenced 177 people under the age of 18 to death in the past decade and has executed nearly three dozen of them, a human rights group said yesterday. The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran published on its website a list of the 114 who remain in prison awaiting execution, some of whom are now older than 18. The youngest person on the list was a 12-year-old boy sentenced in 2005. Aaron Rhodes, a spokesman for the group, said the campaign has called on the international community to press Iran to abolish the executions. (AP)
Congress to debate grain tax increaseBUENOS AIRES - Argentina's president says a contentious grain export tax increase that has sparked months of protests by farmers will debated by Congress. Cristina Fernandez says she will send the proposal to Argentine lawmakers to give it "more democratic support." The president's party has a majority in both chambers. Fernandez boosted the taxes in March by presidential decree, igniting a standoff that has included farmers who blocked highways. (AP)
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