In the World

Syed Saleem Shahzad feared Pakistan's spy agencies as he wrote about alleged al-Qaeda links to the country's navy.
Syed Saleem Shahzad feared Pakistan's spy agencies as he wrote about alleged al-Qaeda links to the country's navy. (CRISTIANO CAMERA)
Posted: June 01, 2011

Sri Lanka is told to probe soldiers

GENEVA, Switzerland - A U.N. expert called Tuesday for Sri Lanka to probe and file charges against soldiers shown in a video shooting bound, blindfolded prisoners and abusing corpses in the last days of the country's 26-year war against ethnic Tamil separatists.

Christof Heyns reviewed the 5-minute, 25-second video frame by frame with technical and forensic specialists to determine its authenticity, and concluded there was enough evidence to open a war-crimes case. Sri Lanka says the video is fake.

At one point in the video, soldiers stand gloating over the half-dressed corpse of a woman.

Heyns, a South African law professor who is the United Nations' independent investigator on extrajudicial killings, said the footage provided solid evidence for a prosecution case. "This is different from CCTV. This is trophy footage," the former lawyer said in an interview. - AP

Pakistan reporter is found dead

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - A Pakistani journalist who investigated al-Qaeda's alleged infiltration of the country's navy was found dead Tuesday. Police said it appeared he was tortured.

Syed Saleem Shahzad of Asia Times Online had been missing for two days. He had told a rights activist in recent months he feared the country's intelligence agencies planned to retaliate against him over his reporting. Shahzad's stories on the alleged infiltration followed a deadly 18-hour extremist siege of a naval base last week in Karachi.

A brother-in-law identified Shahzad's body, police official Bilal Ahmad said. It was found six miles from his vehicle in the Mandi Bahauddin district outside Islamabad. An initial examination found signs of torture, Ahmad said.

Shahzad's death underscored the threats facing journalists in Pakistan, which the Committee to Protect Journalists said was the deadliest country for reporters in 2010. Reporters face pressure from extremist groups and from security agencies, which operate largely outside the law. - AP

Belfast refloats its link to Titanic

DUBLIN, Ireland - A century ago, Belfast celebrated one of its proudest days - the launching of the supposedly unsinkable Titanic. On Tuesday, the Northern Ireland capital commemorated that bittersweet anniversary with cheers from schoolchildren in Edwardian period costumes, the tooting of foghorns, and a hymn-singing dockside choir.

The Titanic was launched into Belfast Lough on May 31, 1911. Ten months later, 1,500 of its 2,200 passengers and crew died after it struck an iceberg and sank on its maiden voyage, to New York.

For decades Belfast preferred not to publicize its link to the infamous maritime disaster. But after James Cameron's film Titanic became a hit in 1997, the city began to build a new community and tourism hub on its once-derelict docklands, now christened the Titanic Quarter.

The Rev. Chris Bennett, a Protestant minister who officiated at Tuesday's ceremony, said Belfast was trying to "recapture that idea that the Titanic is something to be proud of." - AP

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