- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 19, 2003

JAPAN

Whaling bid foiled in Germany

BERLIN — Anti-whaling nations yesterday blocked a Japanese request to resume commercial whaling, calling for more research into stocks before any easing of a 17-year international ban.

A global whaling conference voted 27-17 against a Japanese motion seeking permission to take 150 Bryde’s whales a year from the North Pacific from 2004 to 2008.

The vote at the International Whaling Commission’s annual meeting was another rejection for such pro-whaling forces as Japan, Norway and several Caribbean nations after the majority voted Monday to strengthen whale conservation efforts.

FINLAND

Female prime minister quits after 2 months

HELSINKI — After two months in office, Finland’s first female prime minister announced her resignation yesterday, after reports that she used leaked secret information on Iraq to help win parliamentary elections in March.

“If trust goes, it goes. I do not have that trust,” Anneli Jaatteenmaki said at a packed news conference at the parliament building in Helsinki. “I did not ask for secret papers.”

The resignation capped a tumultuous two days triggered by a presidential aide’s admission that he leaked government information on talks between Miss Jaatteenmaki’s predecessor, Paavo Lipponen, and President Bush.

COLOMBIA

U.S. Coast Guard seizes cocaine boat

BOGOTA — The U.S. Coast Guard seized 2.3 tons of cocaine from a speeding boat in international waters off Colombia’s Atlantic coast and arrested five Colombians, the country’s navy said yesterday.

The supply, worth $70 million, was headed for the United States, which consumes most of the cocaine produced by Colombia, the world’s largest maker of the drug.

Colombian authorities, sometimes with the help of U.S. agents, have seized about 30 tons of cocaine this year. Last year, they intercepted more than 88 tons.

BELGIUM

Brussels looks to ease tensions over war crimes

BRUSSELS — Belgium sought yesterday to ease tensions with the United States triggered by a war-crimes law, proposing greater immunity to visiting foreign officials who could otherwise face arrest.

The law allows Belgium’s courts to put foreigners on trial for war crimes and human rights violations regardless of where they purportedly were committed.

The United States refuses to pay for a new NATO headquarters until Belgium changes the law, which has been used to target the first President Bush and Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf after the 1991 Persian Gulf war, and Gen. Tommy Franks, commander in the war against Iraq this year.

ITALY

Parliament approves Berlusconi immunity

ROME — Italy’s parliament yesterday approved the key article of a bill granting Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi immunity from prosecution while in office and suspending his corruption trial days before Italy takes over the presidency of the European Union.

Mr. Berlusconi is charged with corruption in a case dating from the 1980s. He has pleaded not guilty and accused judges of mounting a politically motivated campaign against him.

JORDAN

Islamists win seats in parliament

AMMAN — Jordan’s main Islamist politicians regained a foothold in parliament, according to final election results yesterday, and said they would call for a more critical approach to the United States and Israel.

Seventeen of the Islamist candidates won seats in the 110-seat parliament by aligning themselves with a handful of independent deputies sharing their opposition agenda.

Tribal figures and pro-government forces won at least two-thirds of the assembly seats.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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