Group condemns killing of teachers

BANGKOK, Thailand - Muslim insurgents in southern Thailand must stop the "sickening trend" of attacking teachers, 115 of whom have been killed since the outbreak of the separatist rebellion five years ago, rights advocates said yesterday.

The insurgency in three southern provinces - Pattani, Yala, and Narathiwat - has led to the deaths of more than 3,500 people, both Buddhist and Muslim, since early 2004, U.S.-based Human Rights Watch said.

The extremists are believed responsible for the killing of the 115 teachers, wounding more than 100 others, and the burning down of more than 200 schools, Human Rights Watch said.

- AP

German honored for aid in WWII

BERLIN - German officer Wilhelm "Wilm" Hosenfeld saved two Jews from the Holocaust, including Wladyslaw Szpilman, whose story was the basis of the Oscar-winning film

The Pianist.

He died in obscurity in a Soviet prison after World War II.

More than 60 years later, Israel's Yad Vashem honored him yesterday with the "Righteous Among the Nations" distinction, presenting members of his family with a medal in tribute to the actions he took in Warsaw.

Hosenfeld was an officer in the Wehrmacht stationed in Warsaw when he encountered Szpilman in 1944. The musician was looking for somewhere to hide after the city was razed, and Hosenfeld gave him food, a blanket, and a place he could stay hidden, Yad Vashem chairman Avner Shalev said.

- AP

U.N. to probe Bhutto slaying

UNITED NATIONS - A U.N. commission will begin a six-month investigation on July 1 into the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, the United Nations announced yesterday.

Bhutto was killed in a Dec. 27, 2007, bomb attack as she left a rally in Rawalpindi, where she was campaigning to return her Pakistan People's Party to power in parliamentary elections.

The government at the time, led by President Pervez Musharraf, blamed Baitullah Mehsud, a Pakistani extremist commander with reported links to al-Qaeda. CIA officials also said Mehsud was to blame. Bhutto's party repeatedly hinted that Musharraf or his allies were involved and demanded a U.N. probe.

- AP

Elsewhere:

Masked Georgian police ransacked an opposition tent camp outside the presidential residence and arrested six activists, witnesses said. The demonstration had been part of a broader protest movement over two months aimed at forcing President Mikhail Saakashvili to resign.

Colombia's coca crop shrank by a significant 18 percent last year, while cultivation of the bush used to make cocaine rose by 4.5 percent in Peru and 6 percent in Bolivia, the two other coca-producing nations.

The first tropical depression of the Pacific hurricane season headed toward Mexico's Pacific coast yesterday. The depression was centered about 120 miles south-southwest of Mazatlan yesterday afternoon.