8 June 2006 Edition

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News in Brief

US soldier says Haditha killings intentional

A US soldier has confessed that US marines killed 24 Iraqi civilians, among them 11 women and children in Haditha, and then they tried to conceal the massacre as a bomb explosion and an armed exchange with Iraqi militia. An article published in the New York Times says an investigation has confirmed that the civilians were executed, most of them shot in the head and chest.


Peruvian ex-president Alan Garcia has won the second round of the presidential election with 54.69% of ballots to 45.30% for nationalist rival Ollanta Humala. Garcia served for five turbulent years from 1985-1990, and his government was accused of corruption and bringing the country's economy to its knees.


Bolivia's President has given more than 30,000 square km (18,600 sq miles) of land to indigenous peasant communities under a programme of agrarian reform. Evo Morales launched the programme after landowners walked out of talks with the government, warning they would take action to defend their estates.


About 350 indigenous people from different nations have occupied the building site of a new hydroelectric plan near the XingĂș National Park, one of the areas of highest indigenous concentration. They feel their water supply will be affected. They have threatened to blow up the plant. They are holding about 300 workers.


Despite a ban and threats of arrests by Moscow's Mayor, over 300 gay and lesbian activists marched through central Moscow for the first ever Gay Pride march, on Saturday, 27 May. The Mayor had said there would not be a Gay Pride parade while he was alive, and to that end mobilised over 1,000 police. Gay and lesbian activists who gathered by the Kremlin in Manezhnaya Square were attacked by a contingent of around 100 fascist demonstrators and religious fanatics, while around 1,000 riot police forced demonstrators from the square. Over 120 people were arrested. Most were released after being charged with disturbing the peace and taking part in an illegal gathering.


An Islamist militia says it has seized Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, after weeks of fighting against an alliance of warlords allegedly backed by the US. The warlords have controlled the capital since they toppled Somalia's last effective government 15 years ago.


Vandals smashed windows at a Toronto mosque hours after Canada announced it had foiled an alleged Islamist bomb plot, arresting 17 men and youths. At least 28 windows were broken but nobody appears to have been hurt in the overnight attack and a mosque official said five cars were also damaged.

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