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Military leader reportedly had ties to militias

Published March 25, 2007


COLOMBIA - The CIA has obtained new intelligence that the head of Colombia's army collaborated extensively with right-wing militias that the United States considers terrorist organizations, the Los Angles Times reported in today's editions. Disclosure of the allegation about Gen. Mario Montoya comes at a time when the high level of U.S. support for Colombia's government is under scrutiny from Democrats in Congress. Montoya has a long and close association with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and would be the highest-ranking officer implicated in a growing political scandal over links between the outlawed militias and top officials.


Quake kills one and injures 40

JAPAN - A powerful earthquake rocked northern Japan today, triggering small tsunamis and killing at least one person. The 7.1-magnitude quake struck off the north coast of Ishikawa prefecture, Japan's Meteorological Agency said. The agency issued a tsunami warning urging people near the sea to move to higher land. The warning was lifted about an hour later. A 52-year-old woman was killed and 40 others were injured along the Sea of Japan coast, officials said.


Police break up anti-Putin protest

RUSSIA - Russian riot police officers swarmed on a group of several dozen journalists and demonstrators on Saturday in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia's third-largest city, cutting off a protest against the government of President Vladimir Putin. The police detained about 30 people, the Interfax news agency quoted a spokesman as saying. A protest organizer said more than 100 were detained at the rally, plus another 100 who had been arrested in an earlier roundup. Authorities had not given permission for the rally.


Three questioned in cricket inquiry

JAMAICA - Three members of the Pakistani cricket team were briefly questioned Saturday by Jamaican police investigating the death of World Cup cricket coach Bob Woolmer, but the men were released and given permission to leave the island, the team's spokesman said. Woolmer, 58, was strangled March 18 in his hotel room, a day after Pakistan's loss to Ireland forced a first-round elimination in the sport's biggest event. On Friday, team members submitted DNA samples to police. Players had already supplied fingerprints to investigators.


Butterflies to get road protection

TAIWAN - Taiwan will cordon off part of a highway in Yunlin County to create a safe passage for a massive seasonal butterfly migration in the coming days, an official said Saturday. The milkweed butterflies, which are indigenous to Taiwan, migrate in late March from southern Taiwan to the north, where they lay eggs and die. The young butterflies then fly south every November to a warm mountain valley near the city of Kaohsiung.


Vatican City: Pope Benedict XVI said Saturday that Europe seems to be losing faith in its future, citing the continent's population trends, which include generally low birth rates.

Afghanistan: Security forces battled suspected Taliban insurgents in two separate clashes in southern Afghanistan, leaving nine militants and two police dead, officials said Saturday.


[Last modified March 25, 2007, 01:20:13]

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