4 U.S. troops killed; brings week's total to 9

BAGHDAD — Roadside bombs killed four U.S. soldiers in northern Iraq, the ­military said Wednesday, in a spike of violence that pushed to at least nine the number of Americans who have died here this week. In the latest attack, one ­soldier was killed by an explosively formed ­penetrator, or EFP, about 9 a.m. Wednesday in the predominantly Shiite eastern half of Baghdad, the military said. The armor-piercing bombs are thought to come from Iran and have been used by Shiite extremists to kill hundreds of American forces. The U.S. military said three other U.S. soldiers and an Iraqi interpreter were killed late Tuesday by a roadside bomb in the northern Ninevah province.


Mandela talks of Zimbabwe

LONDON — Nelson Mandela on Wednesday made his first public comments about Zimbabwe's political ­crisis at a dinner here that was part of his 90th birthday celebration visit to raise money to fight AIDS. ”We have seen the outbreak of violence against fellow Africans in our own country and the tragic failure of leadership in our neighboring Zimbabwe,“ said Mandela. Current South African president Thabo Mbeki, who replaced Mandela, has steered clear of criticizing Mugabe. Mugabe was a staunch supporter of South African activists in their fight for independence. For Mugabe, Mandela's comments are a rebuke from a leader he sees as a fellow freedom fighter. They will be hard to dismiss or ridicule. Also Wednesday, Queen Elizabeth II stripped Mugabe of his ceremonial knighthood to express Britain's revulsion over human rights abuses.

First gay pride parade halted

HAVANA — Cuba's first gay pride ­parade was abruptly canceled Wednesday, moments before it was to begin. The ­unofficial march, organized with Florida's Unity Coalition, was not sanctioned by Cuba's National Center for Sex Education, which is headed by Mariela Castro, the daughter of President Raúl Castro. Activist Mario Jose Delgado said two organizers who were to deliver a set of demands to the Justice Ministry were detained ­Tuesday. ”The president of the Cuban League Against AIDS and the president of the Foundation LGTB Reinaldo Arenas in Memoriam have been arrested,“ ­Delgado said. ”They were to be here with our written demands but now we cannot carry out our activity.“ Delgado said he had no details of the arrests.

Herald-Leader wire services