World Briefs

U.S. condemns deadly Taliban attack in Afghanistan

The United States is condemning a deadly Taliban attack in Afghanistan, saying there is “no possible justification” for killing people who worked to help Afghans achieve a brighter future. The U.S. also is renewing its call for the Taliban to lay down its weapons and begin peace talks with the Afghan government. White House spokesman Jay Carney says such a move is the surest way to bring a peaceful end to the conflict in Afghanistan. The Taliban claimed responsibility for Friday’s attack on a popular restaurant in Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital and largest city. Twenty-one people, including two American citizens working for the American University of Afghanistan, were killed. The Taliban said the attack was in retaliation for an Afghan military operation earlier in the week. (AP)

Turkish police fire tear gas on Istanbul demonstration

Police yesterday fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters in Istanbul’s central Taksim Square demonstrating mainly against a government bill that would increase controls over the Internet. A Reuters reporter saw protesters escaping into side streets after police used water cannon and tear gas. Shops rolled down their shutters. Smaller demonstrations also took place in the coastal city of Izmir and in the capital Ankara, where about 300 protesters chanted slogans opposing the government and the internet bill. The bill would give the courts the power to rule on removing material from the internet that “violates individual rights”, an article that opponents say is murky and could lead to the arbitrary closure of websites. (Reuters)

Nine charged in slaying of Haitian journalist

A Haitian newspaper is reporting that nine people have been charged in the 2000 killing of a prominent journalist. The daily Le Nouvelliste says that Judge Yvikel Dabresil submitted his findings Friday to the Court of Appeal. His report said a former senator named Mirlande Liberus Pavert was the intellectual author of the slaying of Jean Dominique. Those charged include Pavert and singer Annette Auguste. Dominique and a security guard were gunned down on April 3, 2000 at the journalist’s radio station, Radio Haiti Inter. The case’s politically sensitive nature has resulted in it dragging on for years, with judges coming and going, and one fleeing Haiti for his safety. (AP)

Colombian police find cocaine hidden in asphalt

Colombian officials say tests reveal a seized shipment of asphalt turned out to be expertly disguised cocaine. Gen. Ricardo Restrepo said in a press conference yesterday that officials are still trying to determine how the cocaine was mixed with the asphalt. He said the process required “very expert” knowledge. Police last month seized the shipment of 12 sacks of what appeared to be asphalt on a road leading to the city of Maicao some 480 miles northeast of the capital of Bogota. The first tests failed to determine what the material was, but subsequent tests determined the small black rocks in the shipment were nearly 700 pounds of cocaine. Colombian authorities have in the past found cocaine hidden in creative ways, including mixed with coffee and stashed inside lemons and bananas. (AP)

Bomb threat forces plane landing in Brazil

Brazil’s federal police say a bomb threat forced a passenger plane to make an unplanned landing in the Amazon city of Manaus. Federal police in Manaus said a TAM Airlines flight took off from Brasilia yesterday morning and was en route to the city of Boa Vista. A note left in a bathroom in Brasilia’s airport claimed that a bomb was aboard the TAM jet. It had already taken off when the note was discovered, so officials routed the plane to Manaus, where it safely landed. Authorities said a search of the plane has yet to turn up any device. (AP)