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Plaid's council shake-up warning
29 Mar 2008 source: bbc.co.uk

Plaid Cymru leader Ieuan Wyn Jones is to tell councils to "shake themselves up" and "develop original ideas". At his party's spring conference in Newport, he will say Plaid needs more local government partners to deliver a "modern, prosperous and just future". Plaid hopes for gains in areas such as Cardiff, Newport, Neath and the valleys in the council elections on 1 May. Mr Jones, deputy first minister in the assembly government, will also review nine months of coalition with Labour. He is ...

Deadly blast in south Afghanistan
29 Mar 2008 source: bbc.co.uk

A bomb explosion near a power plant in southern Afghanistan has killed two employees, police say. Helmand police chief Mohammad Hussein Andiwal said eight people had been hurt in the blast in the Gereshk district of the troubled province. He said the remote-controlled device was apparently hidden in a control room at the plant. Nato and government troops in Afghanistan have been battling a resu ...

Zimbabwean voters elect president
29 Mar 2008 source: bbc.co.uk

People in Zimbabwe are voting in an election that will decide whether President Robert Mugabe, in power since 1980, wins a sixth term in office. His challengers are Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC party and ex-finance minister and independent Simba Makoni. Correspondents say queues formed early at many polling stations, with voters determined to cast their ballots. The MDC fears the poll will be rigged but Mr Mugabe said as he cast his vote in Harare: "We don't rig elections."  ...

Terrorist releases prompt U-turn
29 Mar 2008 source: bbc.co.uk

Ministers have changed a controversial early release scheme after admitting two terrorism convicts were let out of jail early to ease prison overcrowding. The justice ministry said that people convicted under terrorism laws would no longer be eligible for early release. Yassin Nassari left Wakefield Prison in February after being jailed last summer for three and a half years. The BBC understands the second man was Abdul Muneem Patel, released from Glen Parva prison on 7 January this year. Na ...

Force unveils new chief constable
29 Mar 2008 source: bbc.co.uk

The new chief constable of Dyfed-Powys Police has been appointed, the force's police authority has announced. Ian Arundale is currently deputy chief constable of West Mercia Police and is expected to take over in June. He succeeds Terry Grange who retired from the force following allegations of computer misuse and financial irregularities. Mr Arundale started his career with South Wales Police and has a degree from the University of Glamorgan. Mr Arundale is chairman of the Association of Ch ...

UN says 'network' killed Hariri
29 Mar 2008 source: bbc.co.uk

A UN commission investigating the death of former Lebanese PM Rafik Hariri says the evidence suggests a network of people was responsible for the attack. No individuals were named, but the investigators said what it called the "Hariri Network" might also be behind other deadly attacks in Lebanon. The ex-PM and 22 others died in a huge car bombing in Beirut in February 2005. Past UN inquiries suggested that Syrian and Lebanese intelligence forces had played a role - which Syria denied. The c ...

US warns N Korea on missile tests
29 Mar 2008 source: bbc.co.uk

The US has called North Korea's latest missile tests "not constructive" and urged Pyongyang to instead focus on nuclear disarmament. The call came in response to a North Korean test-firing of several short range missiles off its west coast. North Korea also warned that US demands over its nuclear programme could delay plans to disable atomic facilities agreed in a landmark deal last year. The US suspects Pyongyang of hiding nuclear weapons development. White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe  ...

Rugby U: Sale sink leaders Bath
29 Mar 2008 source: bbc.co.uk

Sale (16) 22 Tries: Ripol Pens: Hodgson (4) Cons: Hodgson Drop: Hodgson Bath (3) 6 Pens: Barkley, Berne Charlie Hodgson scored 17 points and set up a try as Sale got the better of Guinness Premiership leaders Bath. Hodgson kicked two early penalties before opposite number Shane Berne got his side off the mark. A Hodgson drop goal extended the lead before his cross-field kick was missed by Bath's Andrew Higgins, allowing Oriol Ripol to pounce. Olly Barkley's penalty cut the lead but Ho ...

Iraq faces a 'defining moment'
29 Mar 2008 source: bbc.co.uk

US President George W Bush has called the Iraqi government offensive against militiamen in Basra "a defining moment in the history of a free Iraq". Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has set a deadline for the Mehdi Army, which still controls large parts of the city, to lay down their arms for money. Correspondents say the militia has so far ignored the ultimatum. More than 130 people have been killed and 350 injured since a clampdown on militias began in Basra on Tuesday. Mr Bush said the  ...

Talk to Taleban, says Browne
29 Mar 2008 source: bbc.co.uk

The UK should talk to elements within the Taleban who can be persuaded to change sides, Defence Secretary Des Browne has said in an interview. Mr Browne said some of those fighting British troops in Afghanistan were driven by "self-interest rather than ideology" and could be won over. He told the Daily Telegraph: "There's no question we should try to reach them. People have been switched." But he insisted that there was no basis for any negotiations with al-Qaeda. 'Conflict resolution'  ...

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