US drone kills seven in Pakistan MIRANSHAH – A US drone attack yesterday killed at least seven militants in Pakistan, officials said, days before the country’s intelligence chief visits Washington with the contentious raids likely to be discussed.
Attacks by unmanned American aircraft are deeply unpopular in Pakistan, which says they violate its sovereignty and fan anti-US sentiment, but US officials are said to believe the attacks are too important to give up.
Drone strikes are likely to be a major issue when Pakistan’s spymaster, Lieutenant General Zaheer ul-Islam, holds talks in Washington on August 1-3 with his CIA counterpart.
In Sunday’s attack, the second in the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, missiles struck a compound in Khushhali Turikhel village of the troubled North Waziristan tribal district, which lies on the border with Afghanistan.
Russians face trial for ‘punk prayer’
MOSCOW – Three young women who staged an irreverent punk-rock protest against Vladimir Putin on the altar of Russia’s main cathedral go on trial today in a case seen as a test of the president’s tolerance of dissent.
The trial of the activists – from the band ‘Pussy Riot’ – should show how much power the resurgent Russian Orthodox Church and its head, Patriarch Kirill, wields. He has called the ‘punk prayer’ blasphemy, casting it as part of a sinister anti-clerical campaign.
Maria Alyokhina, 24, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 29, were jailed in late February after taking to the altar of Moscow’s Christ the Saviour Cathedral and belting out a song calling on the Virgin Mary to ‘throw Putin out!’. The plight of the three women, two of whom have young children, has made headlines in the West.