- The Washington Times - Friday, December 3, 2004

IVORY COAST

Militants demand French quit country

ABIDJAN — The leader of Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo’s militant supporters called yesterday for a mass demonstration to demand the departure of a French peacekeeping contingent, saying “it has disqualified and discredited itself with all its killings.”

Charles Ble Goude made his call for a rally on Dec. 11, four days before the United Nations is due to impose sanctions on Ivorian leaders considered threats to peace.

France has insisted its soldiers acted with restraint and only fired in self-defense and to protect foreigners being hunted by murderous mobs of Gbagbo supporters. The French killed an estimated 20 Ivorian civilians.

COLOMBIA

Drug lord faces trial in U.S.

BOGOTA — President Alvaro Uribe signed the final order yesterday to extradite Gilberto Rodriguez Orejuela, the most powerful Colombian trafficker to ever face trial in the United States.

The leader of the once-feared Cali drug cartel — whose hair has gone gray since his 1995 arrest and who has turned chubby while in prison — faces trial in federal courts in Miami and New York for trafficking cocaine and for laundering money, according to Mr. Uribe’s office.

NORTH KOREA

No progress in talks on nuclear threat

SEOUL - North Korean and U.S. officials met this week in New York but made no progress on restarting six-party talks on the North’s nuclear programs, a North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman said today.

The official KCNA news agency quoted the spokesman as saying Pyongyang still wanted to talk. It was prepared to be patient to see what the North Korea policy of newly re-elected President George W. Bush’s revamped administration looked like, he said.

FRANCE

Islamists prosecuted for Masood slaying

PARIS — Anti-terrorism judges ordered four radical Islamic suspects committed for trial yesterday on charges they forged and obtained the false documents that enabled two suicide killers posing as journalists to approach and murder Afghan leader Ahmed Shah Masood.

Mr. Masood, known as the Lion of Panjshir, was the military leader of the Northern Alliance fighting the Taliban. He was killed two days before the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, which many commentators have said was more than a coincidence.

SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO

Former rebel head elected Kosovo leader

PRISTINA — Kosovo lawmakers yesterday elected a former rebel commander to be the prime minister even though he was recently questioned by U.N. war-crimes investigators.

Western officials had raised concerns about the post going to Ramush Haradinaj amid signs a U.N. war-crimes tribunal might be preparing to indict him — a development that could destabilize the province.

Alex Anderson, the Kosovo director of the International Crisis Group think tank, said the possibility of the war-crimes indictment against Mr. Haradinaj will incapacitate the government from the start.

VATICAN

Official sees spread of anti-Christian mood

ROME — Anti-Christian feeling is spreading in Muslim countries and other parts of the world because the war on terrorism is seen as linked to Western political strategy, the Vatican’s foreign minister said yesterday.

Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, in a speech to a U.S.-organized conference on religious freedom, was the latest Vatican official to decry what the church fears will be a difficult future in regions where Christians are in the minority.

PHILIPPINES

Storms kill more than 650

REAL — Helicopters delivered food to survivors and picked up casualties yesterday as flash floods began to recede in the northern Philippines, revealing the magnitude of a disaster triggered by back-to-back storms that killed more than 650 people and left nearly 400 missing.

Some 170,000 have fled their homes for higher ground while health authorities urged local officials to bury the dead quickly to avoid disease.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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