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Pakistan Taliban leader was killed, his aide admits

Pakistan

Taliban leader was killed, his aide admits

Pakistani Taliban spokesman Maulvi Umar, captured Monday night, told interrogators Tuesday that the movement's chief, Baitullah Mehsud, was killed in an Aug. 5 strike close to the Afghan border, according to an intelligence official. Another Mehsud aide, Qari Saifullah, was also caught Monday as he was being treated at a private hospital in the capital, Islamabad. Saifullah told police he was wounded in an American missile strike in South Waziristan, police said. It was unclear if it was the same strike that targeted Mehsud. U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke told CNN Tuesday that "the chaos benefits us, but it doesn't mean that this thing is over."

South Korea

Rocket launch plan raises tensions

South Korea prepared Tuesday to launch its first rocket, just four months after rival North Korea defiantly launched its own and quickly was slapped with U.N. sanctions. The North has warned it would closely watch the international response to South Korea's launch today. In April, the North said it shot a satellite into orbit and was angered when the United States, Japan and South Korea called it a disguised test of the regime's U.N.-banned ballistic missile technology. South Korean officials say their rocket launch, carrying an observation satellite, is peaceful.

Former S. Korean president dies

South Korea lost its most fervent champion of peace and democracy with the death of former President Kim Dae Jung, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to foster reconciliation on the Korean peninsula. Born when Korea was one nation, he campaigned until the end for reconciliation with the communist North, defending his "Sunshine Policy" of openness even as he watched a decade of progress unravel under a new government. He died at a Seoul hospital Tuesday after battling pneumonia, officials at Severance Hospital said. He was 85.

Cuba

End the embargo, church leaders say

A delegation of U.S. Roman Catholic Church leaders on Tuesday urged President Barack Obama's administration to lift the 47-year-old economic embargo against Cuba's communist government. Bishop Thomas Wenski of Orlando said the U.S. church welcomed a recent move by Washington to relax travel restrictions on Cuban-Americans with family in Cuba. But there is much more to be done, he said. Wenski, Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston and Auxiliary Bishop Oscar Cantu of San Antonio, Texas, met Monday with Cuban Cardinal Jaime Ortega and diplomats at the U.S. Interests Section in Havana.

Elsewhere

Honduras: The interim government on Tuesday ordered Argentine diplomats to leave the country in three days, sending a defiant message ahead of a visit by six foreign ministers seeking the restoration of President Manuel Zelaya.

Russia: Rescuers scrambled Tuesday to try to locate more than 60 workers trapped in a Siberian hydroelectric plant after an accident on Monday. But with only two survivors found, the acting chief executive of RusHydro, which owns the plant, said that most had probably drowned.

Times wires

Pakistan Taliban leader was killed, his aide admits 08/18/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 18, 2009 11:20pm]

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