- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 5, 2004

WEST BANK

Qureia condemns Israeli military raids

RAMALLAH — Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia condemned continuing Israeli military raids, saying yesterday that they were hampering efforts to restart the peace process.

There have been high hopes that the peace process, stalled by four years of violence, would take off after Palestinian presidential elections on Jan. 9 to replace Yasser Arafat, the late Palestinian leader.

Yesterday morning, Israeli troops raided the West Bank city of Tulkarem, arresting a senior Hamas militant, the army and witnesses said.

NORTHERN IRELAND

IRA commitment to disarm in doubt

BELFAST — The Irish Republican Army still hasn’t contacted the Northern Ireland disarmament chief, raising doubts about the outlawed group’s commitment to a new peace deal, a Protestant leader declared yesterday.

Democratic Unionist leader Ian Paisley — whose Protestant party is resisting pressure to form an administration alongside Sinn Fein, the IRA-linked party backed by most Catholics — said he wouldn’t revive power-sharing unless the IRA shuts down.

RUSSIA

Putin disagrees with U.N. reform plan

NEW DELHI — Russian President Vladimir Putin rejected a key recommendation of a United Nations panel on expanding the Security Council, saying yesterday that any reform would be one-sided if new members did not have veto power.

Mr. Putin also backed India’s aim to become a permanent member of the Security Council.

A high-level U.N. panel called Wednesday for expanding the 15-nation Security Council as part of a sweeping revamp of the world body. The panel said that only the current five permanent members — the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France — should have veto power.

TAIWAN

Film on Tibet wins Chinese ‘Oscar’

TAICHUNG — A bleak portrayal of life on a Tibetan plateau won the best film award at the Chinese-language version of the Oscars yesterday, becoming the first entry from China to bag the top prize in Taiwan.

“Kekexili: Mountain Patrol,” a feature film by Chinese director Lu Chuan, beat internationally acclaimed director Wong Kar-wai’s latest art house movie “2046” at the Golden Horse Awards, which showcases films from Taiwan, Hong Kong and China.

MEXICO

17 officials held in Cancun killings

CANCUN — Seventeen law-enforcement officials have been arrested in connection with a string of killings in the Mexican resort of Cancun as part of an effort to sever ties between cocaine smugglers and authorities, a top prosecutor said on Friday.

Federal, state and local investigators, as well as prosecutors and police officers, were among those arrested, Mexico’s top organized-crime and anti-narcotics prosecutor, Jose Luis Santiago Vasconcelos, said at a press conference.

They face charges of protecting drug dealers and homicide or accessory to murder in the slayings of nine persons whose bodies were discovered Nov. 25, Mr. Santiago Vasconcelos said.

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