April 3, 2007 in Nation/World

Five peacekeepers killed by gunmen

The Spokesman-Review

Gunmen killed five African Union peacekeepers in Sudan’s troubled Darfur region along the border with Chad, the AU said Monday – the deadliest attack on the force since it deployed three years ago.

The deaths underscored Darfur’s growing violence and are likely to intensify pressure on the Sudanese government to drop its opposition to a bigger and better armed U.N. peacekeeping force deploying in Darfur.

The understaffed and underarmed AU force has been unable to stop the growing violence in Darfur, where more than 200,000 people have died in nearly four years of fighting. The conflict is spilling over into the Central African Republic and Chad, where hundreds of thousands of Darfur’s 2.5 million homeless have fled.

KABUL, Afghanistan

Avalanches, floods devastate region

Avalanches and floods triggered by heavy rains and spring snow melt have killed about 150 people in recent days in the mountains of central Asia, officials said Monday.

In Afghanistan, the death toll reached 88 on Monday and officials said more than half of the country’s provinces had flooded, said the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development.

The government has distributed tents, blankets and sandbags to people, but aid agencies were still trying to reach an estimated 20,000 to 25,000 people in remote areas, said Aleem Siddique, spokesman for the U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, flooding and avalanches have killed more than 50 people in the past 10 days in northwestern Pakistan, near the border with Afghanistan. The toll includes 38 people who died in weekend avalanches, some of whose bodies were found Monday in the rubble of demolished homes in a remote village, police said.


Iranians say Britons admit illegal entry

Iranian officials said Monday that all 15 British sailors and marines arrested March 23 have admitted to illegally entering Iranian waters, but the officials said they would not broadcast any further “confessions” on Iranian television because of positive “changes” in British attitude.

It was unclear what changes Iranian officials were referring to, but after a flurry of behind-the-scenes diplomatic discussions and an official exchange of letters, British officials noticeably toned down their rhetoric Monday over the seizure of the crew.

According to the ISNA news agency, Iranian officials broadcast new footage Monday of the British crew but said it would not air the 14 men and one woman “explaining details about their arrest in Iranian waters” because of “changes seen in the last two days in the clamorous British government policies.”


U.S. likely to deport migrants

The United States will probably deport most if not all of the 101 Haitian migrants who landed off a South Florida beach last week, a U.S. legislator said Monday, warning others not to risk the dangerous voyage.

U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, a Florida Democrat, said the Haitians have little recourse under U.S. law to avoid being sent back to their deeply impoverished Caribbean nation.

The 101 Haitians, many looking gaunt and exhausted, came ashore Wednesday north of Miami after spending at least three weeks at sea in a dilapidated sailboat. One man died in the crossing and three were taken to the hospital in critical condition.

Unlike Cubans, who are generally allowed to stay once they reach U.S. soil, most Haitians who illegally make it to the United States are sent back despite claims that they face persecution in their politically turbulent homeland.

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