Simon Gardner

Obama offers new US partnership with Latin America

President Barack Obama called on Monday for a "new era of partnership" with Latin America as he acknowledged a sometimes troubled past.

Sci-fi guru Arthur C Clarke dies at 90

Pioneering science fiction writer and visionary Arthur C Clarke, best known for his work on the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, has died in his adopted home of Sri Lanka at the age of 90. He died of respiratory complications and heart failure doctors linked to the post-polio syndrome that had kept him wheelchair-bound for years.

Warring Sri Lanka marks 60 years of independence

With a parade of tanks, troops and rocket launchers, Sri Lanka on Monday marked its 60th anniversary of independence from Britain amid tight security after a string of attacks blamed on Tamil Tiger rebels. Thousands of police and troops were on high alert in the capital Colombo as the island's armed forces put on a show of military might.

Govt: Sri Lankan bus victims were shot

Sri Lanka's military said on Thursday most of the 27 people killed in a bus ambush were shot by rebels as the passengers tried to flee rather than in the blast that struck the vehicle. Wednesday's attack came as a six-year truce between the state and rebels formally ended.

Sri Lankans thank the gods for cinnamon

Dancing to traditional drums behind an elephant draped in purple, Sri Lankan cinnamon growers are offering part of their crop to pagan gods in thanks at a steady recovery from the 2004 tsunami. ''The tsunami took everything away. My wife, my daughter ... goats, cows and my cinnamon,'' said wizened Anthony Silva.

Bhutto: Musharraf must step down

Detained Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto called on Tuesday for military leader Pervez Musharraf to step down as president, isolating him in the run-up to a general election. Britain stepped up pressure on Musharraf, who imposed emergency rule on November 3, backing a 10-day Commonwealth ultimatum for him to end the emergency.

Pakistan a pressure cooker, says Bhutto

Opposition leader Benazir Bhutto described Pakistan on Saturday as a pressure cooker about to explode, as President Pervez Musharraf's government tightened screws on media by ordering out three British journalists. Having invoked emergency powers a week ago, Musharraf has sacked most of the country's judges and ordered police to round up most of the opposition leadership.

Pakistani police beat lawyers

Pakistani police beat and arrested lawyers protesting for a second day on Tuesday against President Pervez Musharraf's emergency rule, while officials under United States pressure said an election would be held in early 2008. Opposition politicians, including Benazir Bhutto, have spoken out but there has been no real action on their part so far.

Korean hostages set to fly home after Afghan ordeal

Nineteen newly freed South Korean hostages were set to fly out of the Afghan capital on Friday after a six-week kidnap drama, sources close to the arrangements said, after a deal critics fear could spur more abductions. Taliban insurgents freed the remaining seven South Korean Christian volunteers late on Thursday.

Sri Lanka claims to have killed 70 rebels in a day

Sri Lankan troops killed about 30 Tamil Tigers in a clash overnight in jungle in the island's restive east, the military said on Wednesday, hours after the navy said it had killed about 40 insurgents in a sea battle. The military said soldiers had captured a rebel bunker line during the fight in a swathe of landlocked eastern jungle called Thoppigala.

Sri Lanka battles rebels at sea, troops ambushed

Sri Lanka's navy clashed with Tamil Tiger rebels off the island's north-west coast on Saturday, each claiming to have sunk the other's vessels, while the military said a rebel ambush on land killed three soldiers. The Navy said it sank three Tiger boats near the northern Mannar peninsula, while the rebels said they sank two navy boats and killed 10 sailors in the incident.

Sri Lanka fighting rages as military counts dead

At least 43 Sri Lankan troops were killed and over 220 wounded in a fierce battle with Tamil Tiger rebels in the country's far north, the military said on Thursday. Another 25 to 30 were missing after Wednesday's fighting. The flare-up in violence has spurred fears that peace talks due this month may be cancelled.

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