In Brief

In Brief

December 06, 2008|By From Sun news services

5 Blackwater guards indicted in Iraq killings

WASHINGTON: Five Blackwater Worldwide security guards have been indicted and a sixth was negotiating a plea with prosecutors for a 2007 shooting that left 17 Iraqis dead and became an anti-U.S. rallying point for insurgents, people close to the case said yesterday. Prosecutors obtained the indictment late Thursday and had it put under seal until it is made public, perhaps by Monday. All who discussed the case did so on condition of anonymity because it remains sealed. Six guards have been under investigation since a convoy of heavily armed Blackwater contractors opened fire in a crowded Baghdad intersection on Sept. 16, 2007. Witnesses said the shooting was unprovoked. Blackwater, hired by the State Department to guard U.S. diplomats, said its guards were ambushed by insurgents while responding to a car bombing.

Indian police reveal earlier Mumbai plot

MUMBAI, India: The Indian police foiled an attempt to destroy landmarks and wreak havoc in Mumbai early this year, breaking up a cell of Pakistani and Indian men who were directed by the same two Pakistan-based militant leaders they have accused of organizing last week's devastating attacks here, the police said. The plot foiled in February also involved Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistani group accused of last week's attacks, the police said. That suggests that the militant group conceived its plan long in advance and that it has made deeper contacts with radical Indian Muslims than investigators have been willing to concede. It also pointed up another significant security lapse by Indian intelligence and police forces, who months ago had glimpses of a blueprint for the Mumbai attack and even a strong indication of the intended targets.

Two men found alive on boat adrift at sea

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic: Fishermen found two men yesterday on a boat that had been lost at sea more than three weeks, the Dominican Navy said. Forty-nine other migrants who had been aboard were believed dead. Navy Cmdr. Edwin Dominicci said the two men were hospitalized with severe dehydration and sunburn. Hundreds of migrants have died in recent years while trying to cross the Mona Passage that separates the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.

Slave trade site could illuminate African roots

ATLANTA: Historians hope a new Web database will help bring millions of blacks closer to their African ancestors who were forced onto slave ships, connecting them to their heritage in a way that has long been possible for white Europeans. "Voyages: The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database" launched yesterday in conjunction with a conference at Emory University marking the bicentennial of the official end of the trans-Atlantic slave trade in 1808. "Voyages" documents the slave trade from Africa to the New World in the 1500s to 1800s and includes searchable information on nearly 35,000 trips and the names of 70,000 human cargo. The voluminous work documents two-thirds of all slave trade voyages between 1514 and 1866. For someone who knows that an ancestor was enslaved in a certain part of the South, the database might help him trace from where in Africa the ancestor most likely came, said Emory history professor Leslie Harris.

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