- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 8, 2004

BRITAIN

BBC to slash 2,900 jobs

LONDON — The British Broadcasting Corp. said yesterday it would eliminate 2,900 jobs, or more than 10 percent of its work force, as part of a cost-saving “transformation” of the world’s biggest and best-known public broadcaster.

Most of the positions would be cut from administrative departments, with the savings to be redirected into programming, BBC Director General Mark Thompson said.

The cutbacks do not affect the BBC World Service radio, which is funded by the Foreign Office, and BBC World television, one of the broadcaster’s commercial operations.

GHANA

High turnout seen in presidential vote

ACCRA — Voters in Ghana turned out in force yesterday to cast ballots in a presidential vote that incumbent John Kufuor is tipped to win after overseeing four years of economic stability in the world’s No. 2 cocoa grower.

A smooth vote would bolster the reputation of the West African country as a beacon of stability in an often chaotic and impoverished region.

PHILIPPINES

U.S. military to help with storm relief

The U.S. military is sending 600 Marines and Navy personnel to the Philippines to assist in recovery efforts after storms left hundreds dead and displaced 200,000 from their homes.

“Our primary concern is to rapidly reduce the further loss of life and human suffering, and to enable Philippine forces to conduct sustained disaster management efforts,” a Pentagon statement said.

CANADA

Analysts to discuss Iraq vote readiness

OTTAWA — Electoral analysts from all over the world will meet in Canada on Dec. 19 and 20 to discuss preparations for Iraq’s planned Jan. 30 election, Ottawa said yesterday.

“It has two main objectives: to review preparations for the conduct of the January 30, 2005, election and to assess methods for international observation,” said Elections Canada, the body that oversees federal votes.

BRITAIN

‘Batman’ protester escapes sentence

LONDON — A man who dressed as Batman and climbed onto a balcony at Buckingham Palace to demand more rights for divorced fathers will face no charges, police said yesterday.

Other stunts by members of Fathers 4 Justice, which campaigns for greater access to children by divorced fathers, have included dressing as Spider-Man to scale the London Eye Ferris wheel and throwing purple flour at Prime Minister Tony Blair in the House of Commons.

NETHERLANDS

6 no longer suspects in filmmaker’s killing

AMSTERDAM — Six men arrested after the slaying of filmmaker Theo van Gogh are no longer suspects in the killing, but still face charges for belonging to a terrorist group, authorities said yesterday.

The prime suspect in the Nov. 2 killing, Mohammed Bouyeri, 26, remains in custody, officials said. But national prosecution spokesman Wim de Bruin said Amsterdam prosecutors have found no evidence linking six others to Mr. Van Gogh’s killing.

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