Baghdad

Rockets, suicide bomber attacks kill at least 57

Rockets and mortars pounded Baghdad’s U.S.-protected Green Zone yesterday and a suicide car bomber struck an Iraqi army post in the northern city of Mosul in a surge of attacks that killed at least 57 people nationwide.

The latest violence underscored the fragile security situation and the resilience of both Sunni and Shiite extremist groups as the war enters its sixth year and the U.S. death toll in the conflict approaches 4,000.

Attacks in Baghdad probably stemmed from rising tensions between rival Shiite groups – some of whom may have been behind the Green Zone blasts. It was the most sustained assault in months against the nerve center of the U.S. mission.

CHENGDU, China

China accuses Dalai Lama of sabotage, Pelosi of ignorance

China accused the Dalai Lama on yesterday of stoking Tibetan unrest to sabotage the Beijing Olympics and also berated House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, saying she is ignoring the truth about Tibet.

This month’s violence in Tibet and neighboring provinces has turned into a public relations disaster for China ahead of the August Olympics, which it had been hoping to use to bolster its international image.

The Chinese government said through official media that formerly restive areas were under control and accused the Dalai Lama, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, of trying to harm China’s image ahead of the summer games.

“The Dalai clique is scheming to take the Beijing Olympics hostage to force the Chinese government to make concessions to Tibet independence,” said the People’s Daily, the main mouthpiece of the Communist Party.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska

Fishing boat sinks off coast of Alaska

Four crew members died yesterday and another was missing after a Seattle-based fishing boat began sinking in high seas off Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, the Coast Guard said.

The dead were among 47 crew members who abandoned ship after the 184-foot Alaska Ranger developed problems. Forty-two crew members were recovered safely, but a search was continuing for the missing person, said Chief Petty Officer Barry Lane.

The vessel started taking on water shortly before 3 a.m. after losing control of its rudder 120 miles west of Dutch Harbor, which is on Unalaska Island.

JERUSALEM

Cheney defends Israeli security

In a bold defense of Israel, Vice President Dick Cheney said Saturday that the United States wants a new beginning for the Palestinian people but will never pressure Israel to take steps that would jeopardize its security.

Cheney, on an Easter weekend visit to Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories, reaffirmed Washington’s commitment to establishing a Palestinian state – a feat he said would require painful concessions on both sides.

“America’s commitment to Israel’s security is enduring and unshakable, as is our commitment to Israel’s right to defend itself – always – against terrorism, rocket attacks and other threats from forces dedicated to Israel’s destruction,” Cheney said, standing next to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. “The United States will never pressure Israel to take steps that threaten its security.”

– Compiled from Daily wire reports

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