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Digest

U.S. pays families restitution for three slain boys

By TIMES WIRES
Published March 15, 2007


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CHINAR, AFGHANISTAN

In an attempt to mend relations after three boys were mistakenly killed Saturday during the latest NATO offensive, U.S. Lt. Col. Brian Mennes visited their graves Wednesday, expressed his condolences and gave the boys' fathers cash. The display of sorrow and compensation was part of a campaign to calm Afghan anger over civilian deaths. While the U.S. made payments after a military truck crash last May set off rioting in Kabul, any restitution for deaths of civilians from combat haven't been publicized. Mennes gave the fathers $6,000, telling them the $2,000 gift for each child was on behalf of the Afghan government. Earlier, he gave them $600 to buy food for visiting friends and relatives.

Also: A suicide bomber struck near a police convoy in Khost on Wednesday, killing five people and wounding 38. In Kabul, an explosion early Wednesday at a gunpowder store killed at least six people, injured nine and destroyed dozens of shops and houses. Deputy Police Chief Zulmay Khan said the gunpowder was for hunting rifles. It was unclear what ignited it.

LONDON

Parliament okays new nuclear subs

British lawmakers Wednesday authorized construction of the next generation of nuclear submarines, despite warnings that it sends a green flag to nations such as Iran to develop their own nuclear weapons. In a divided vote that fractured Prime Minister Tony Blair's Labor Party, the House of Commons voted 409 to 161 to approve the $39-billion overhaul of the nation's Trident missile "nuclear deterrent." The government said it will take at least 17 years to design and build a new class of three or four submarines.

WASHINGTON

Bank investigation ends for N. Korea

The Treasury Department said Wednesday that it has ended its investigation of a Macau bank that it accused of facilitating money laundering and counterfeiting by North Korea, removing a possible roadblock to a six-nation agreement to shut down the reclusive nation's nuclear reactor. But it is unclear whether the Treasury action, which formally ordered U.S. banks to stop doing business with Banco Delta Asia, will satisfy North Korean demands for a halt to what it has labeled "financial sanctions."

Elsewhere

Norfolk, Va.: U.S. District Judge Robert G. Doumar ruled Wednesday that the Sudanese government caused the 2000 terrorist bombing of the USS Cole and will be liable for paying damages to the families of the 17 sailors killed.

Zimbabwe: Fifty antigovernment protesters who were beaten by riot police Sunday in Harare were freed Wednesday after neither the police nor prosecutors showed up at a hearing, defense lawyers said.

Gaza City, Gaza Strip: Political rivals Hamas and Fatah reached a final agreement on forming a unity government Wednesday, wrapping up months of tortuous coalition negotiations aimed at ending bloody internal fighting and lifting international sanctions against the Palestinians. Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas said he would present the new government to parliament this weekend for final approval.

Johannesburg, South Africa : The government proposed a five-year plan Wednesday to cut in half the number of new HIV infections in South Africa. The report was warmly received by AIDS activists.

[Last modified March 15, 2007, 02:26:36]


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