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Government takes rebels’ stronghold

Sri Lankan forces captured the Tamil Tigers’ de facto capital Friday, winning a major victory in a decades-long battle to destroy the ethnic separatists and crush their dream of establishing an independent state.

The rebels, who still control 620 square miles of northeastern jungle – an area about the size of Los Angeles, swiftly sent the message they would fight on. They carried out a suicide attack near air force headquarters in Colombo, killing three airmen.

But the fall of Kilinochchi was a devastating blow to the rebels’ dream of establishing a state for Tamils in the northeast.

Islamabad, Pakistan

Key supply route open after fighting

A crucial land route for military supplies to Western troops in Afghanistan was reopened Friday by Pakistani authorities, three days after being closed because of fighting between the Pakistani army and Islamic militants.

But the reopening of the road through the historic Khyber Pass didn’t figure to mark an end to bold attacks by militants that have plagued the route.

About three-quarters of the supplies bound for U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan pass through Pakistan. With the expected deployment of as many as 30,000 additional American troops to Afghanistan in coming months, the security of the supply route is likely to become an even more pressing issue.

Vancouver, B.C.

Archbishop retires, citing depression

The Catholic archbishop of Vancouver announced Friday he was retiring because of an ongoing battle with depression.

Archbishop Raymond Roussin, 69, said the ailment forced him to reassess his work.

“I believe my call is from God and to be a bishop, to be a pastor. I was unable to do it,” Roussin said in an interview with Canadian Press, adding that he has suffered from depression for several years.

Roussin is stepping down more than five years earlier than the normal retirement age. Archbishop J. Michael Miller, 62, was named to replace him.

From wire reports


Top stories in Nation/World

N. Korea, setting stage for talks, halts nuclear, ICBM tests

UPDATED: 10:03 p.m.

North Korea said Saturday it has suspended nuclear and long-range missile tests and plans to close its nuclear test site ahead of a new round of negotiations with South Korea and the United States. There was no clear indication in the North’s announcement if it would be willing to deal away its arsenal.