OSH, Kyrgyzstan

More than 75,000 Uzbeks flee crowds of Kyrgyz men

Kyrgyz mobs burned Uzbek homes and cafes and slaughtered Uzbek villagers Sunday in the worst ethnic rioting this Central Asian nation has seen in 20 years. More than 75,000 Uzbeks fled across the border into Uzbekistan.

Crowds of Kyrgyz men took control of Osh, the second-largest city in Kyrgyzstan, as the few Uzbeks still left barricaded themselves in their neighborhoods. Fires set by rioters raged across the city of 250,000, and food was scarce after widespread looting.

The rioting that began Thursday night appeared aimed at undermining Kyrgyzstan’s interim government, which came to power after former President Kurmanbek Bakiyev was ousted in a bloody uprising in April and fled the country. Uzbeks have backed the interim government, while many Kyrgyz in the south support the toppled president.

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan

Karzai, tribal leaders back major security operation

President Hamid Karzai gave the go-ahead to a major security crackdown in the Taliban birthplace of Kandahar on Sunday, assuring residents the operation was aimed at battling corruption and bad government as much as insurgents.

Hundreds of tribal and religious leaders publicly endorsed the plan, although Afghan officials acknowledged skepticism remains over the high-stakes operation, seen as a possible turning point in the nearly nine-year-old war.

Afghan and international forces already have started to ramp up security, raising fears among the estimated half-million people living in and around the city that military action will lead to more bloodshed. Karzai worked to allay those fears, saying the operation would not resemble a heavy military offensive that could endanger civilians..


Blood pressure pills may slightly raise cancer risk

Some of the world’s most popular blood pressure pills may slightly increase the risk of getting cancer, but doctors say it’s too soon to ditch the drugs, according to new research.

In an analysis of five previous studies following about 60,000 patients, experts found a link between people taking medicines known as angiotensin-receptor blockers, or ARBs, and cancer. The drugs are taken by millions of people worldwide for conditions such as high blood pressure, heart problems and diabetic kidney disease.

Researchers found that people who took the drugs had about a 1 percent higher risk of getting cancer than people who weren’t on the drugs. This included a whole range of cancers — prostate, breast, and a noticable spike in lung cancer.

About 85 percent of those people were on telmisartan, sold as Micardis, made by Boehringer Ingelheim Corp. There was no difference in the rate of cancer deaths in people on the drugs compared to those not on them. The study was published today in the medical journal, Lancet Oncology.