U.S. criticizes Zimbabwe

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) – A U.S. diplomat barred from meeting victims of President Robert Mugabe’s mass eviction campaign, criticized the Zimbabwe government Saturday for interfering with aid efforts and warned of outrage in Congress over the worsening humanitarian crisis.

Tony Hall, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. World Food Program and Food and Agriculture Organization, said the United States would donate $51.8 million worth of food for Zimbabwe and the neighboring drought-stricken countries of Zambia, Malawi, Lesotho and Swaziland.

Sri Lanka: Leader is hurting peace process with rebels

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) – Military jets and helicopters buzzed the Sri Lankan countryside Saturday, searching for Tamil Tiger rebels blamed for assassinating the nation’s foreign minister – and sparking fears of a return to civil war.

Though the government has not taken steps to break a three-year-old cease-fire with the Liberation Tigers of Tamileelam, officials from around the world urged both sides to press ahead with the country’s faltering peace process and respect the truce.

A state of emergency went into effect within hours of the killing of the heavily protected Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar, shot by snipers Friday evening at his home after taking a swim.

Kadirgamar, 73, an ethnic Tamil who led efforts to ban the Tigers as a terrorist organization but later backed peace efforts, was wounded in the head and chest and died after midnight.”It is a grave setback to the peace process,” an official who leads government peace efforts, Jayantha Dhanapala, told reporters. “Restarting (the peace process) will be seriously undermined.”

Plane parts fall on homes, 2 hurt

FUKUOKA, Japan – Metal fragments found in a residential neighborhood in Fukuoka, Japan, fell from a JALways jet bound for Honolulu from Fukuoka Airport on Friday evening after an engine caught fire, police said.

A boy and a man were injured when they were struck by some fragments, police said.

Mexico rebels seek to shake up 2006 election

CARMEN PATATE, Mexico (AP) – After four years of near silence, the ski-masked Zapatista rebels suddenly have a lot to say as they try to build a national political movement and reshape the campaign for next summer’s presidential election.

But whether the rebels can recapture the attention of the world – and sway Mexican voters – remains unclear. Unlike the 1994 armed uprising in Chiapas state that grabbed headlines and gave the Zapatistas a romantic aura, their latest effort seems oddly timed.

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