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U.S., Afghan troops hit Taliban camp

Compiled from wire reports The Spokesman-Review

Kabul, Afghanistan Afghan and U.S. ground troops, backed by attack helicopters, raided a Taliban camp in the mountains of southern Afghanistan, killing nine suspected militants, officials said Wednesday.

The camp in Uruzgan province had been used as a base by about 80 insurgents from where they launched guerrilla-style assaults on Afghan and U.S.-led coalition forces in the area.

U.S. helicopters pounded the site with rockets before ground forces moved in. A U.S. military statement said nine suspected militants were killed. The rest of the rebels fled.

Turkish writer criticized for newspaper interview

Istanbul An acclaimed Turkish novelist, Orhan Pamuk, has been charged with the “public denigrating of Turkish identity” and faces a possible prison sentence of three years, his publisher said Wednesday.

The charge stems from an interview that Pamuk gave to a Swiss newspaper in February in which he said certain topics were regarded as off-limits in Turkey. As examples, he listed the massacre of Armenians in 1915 and the ongoing war between Turkish security forces and Kurdish guerrillas as examples.

“Thirty-thousand Kurds were killed here, 1 million Armenians as well. And almost no one talks about it,” Pamuk told the newspaper, Tages-Anzeiger. “Therefore, I do.”

Turkey considers the Armenian deaths a consequence of war, with severe casualties on both sides, while Armenians say the deaths constitute genocide. Under Turkish law, people can be jailed for differing with the government’s line on the deaths, as well as on the presence of Turkish troops in Cyprus.

U.S. pushing for action against Iran by U.N.

The Bush administration renewed its insistence Wednesday that the United Nations Security Council takes up the question of punitive censure or sanctions for Iran, saying Tehran must face international judgment over its disputed nuclear program.

The United States wants the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, to take the first step toward sanctions this month, Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said in an interview with the Associated Press.

The United States has long favored using the punitive power of the Security Council against Iran, but had said little about it recently in hopes that a European-led diplomatic outreach to Iran would bear fruit.

Burns said the United States still strongly supports that effort, but he also denounced Iran in strong terms and made an unambiguous threat that sanctions will follow if Tehran does not reinstate a freeze on nuclear activities that could be part of a covert effort to build a bomb.

Jailed Russian tycoon to run for parliament

Moscow Seeking to transform himself from jailed tycoon to political heavyweight, former Yukos Oil Co. chief executive Mikhail Khodorkovsky announced Wednesday that he plans to run for parliament from prison.

By targeting an open seat in Moscow’s University voting district, one of the most liberal in the country, Khodorkovsky could be a serious contender.

Khodorkovsky, who was once Russia’s richest man, was convicted in May of fraud, tax evasion and embezzlement and sentenced to nine years in prison.

But his prosecution was widely viewed as a politically motivated attack by the Kremlin on a potentially powerful opponent.

Typhoon Talim closes much of Taiwan

Taipei, Taiwan Typhoon Talim slammed into Taiwan before moving off the island’s west coast today, leaving one man dead and two dozen people injured, officials said.

Schools and government offices were closed in most of Taiwan today. Financial markets were also closed. Train services were suspended over most of the island, and several domestic airports stopped operations.

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