January 2, 2009 in Nation/World

Government troops enter rebel capital

 

Sri Lankan military officials say their soldiers have entered the Tamil Tiger rebels’ de facto capital in the north for the first time in a decade.

Senior military officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, say troops have entered Kilinochchi from two sides.

The level of fighting inside the town today was still unclear. The military had predicted on Thursday that they would control the town within two days.

The fall of Kilinochchi would be devastating to the separatist group, which has been forced out of much of its territory in the north of the Indian Ocean island nation amid a renewed government offensive in recent months. President Mahinda Rajapaksa has promised to crush the rebel group and end the nation’s 25-year-old civil war this year.

Whistler, B.C.

Avalanches kill two at resort

A skier and a snowboarder were killed in separate avalanches at Canada’s Whistler resort, police said Thursday, just days after eight snowmobilers died elsewhere in British Columbia.

Police said the latest fatality occurred Thursday when a 26-year-old man on a snowboard was swept away on Whistler mountain. A day earlier, a 37-year-old skier was killed on Blackcomb Mountain, also part of the ski area.

In both cases, police said the men were in areas that were marked off-limits.

Cairo, Egypt

Pirates seize Egyptian ship

An Egyptian official said that Somali pirates have seized an Egyptian cargo ship with 28 crew members on board.

The vessel, called Blue Star, was carrying 6,000 tons of fertilizer when it was attacked and snatched after it passed through the Red Sea and entered the Gulf of Aden on Thursday morning.

Egyptian deputy foreign minister, Ahmed Rizq, said 15 armed pirates seized the vessel and were steering it toward the coast of Somalia.

A statement from Rizq said efforts are under way with “international and regional parties” to get the ship released.

Kandahar, Afghanistan

Taliban kill 20 police in ambush

Taliban militants ambushed a group of police while they were eating lunch in remote southern Afghanistan, killing 20 and fatally shooting the mother of one as she pleaded for her son’s life, an official said Thursday.

A Taliban spokesman, Qari Yousef Ahmadi, said two militants were killed and four wounded in the ambush Wednesday in Helmand province. Ahmadi claimed 32 police were killed, but Afghan officials put the toll at 20, plus the mother.

From wire reports


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