Clinton protests civilian deaths in Sri Lanka

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told Sri Lanka's president on Monday of deep US concern over deteriorating conditions and increasing loss of life in the government-designated "safe zone" of northern Sri Lanka where civilians are supposed to be shielded. In a telephone call, Clinton told President Mahinda Rajapaksa his soldiers should not fire into the civilian areas, State Department spokesman Gordon Duguid said. He said the secretary condemned the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam for using civilians as shields against government attack and shooting civilians who try to leave. On Wednesday, the UN refugee agency said it was "outraged by the unnecessary loss" of hundreds of civilian lives.