- The Washington Times - Friday, June 11, 2004

State admits error in terror report

The State Department acknowledged yesterday that it had been wrong in reporting that terrorism declined worldwide last year, a finding that was used to boost one of President Bush’s claims to success in countering terror.

Instead, the number of incidents as well as the toll in victims increased sharply, the department said. Statements by senior administration officials claiming success were based “on the facts as we had them at the time. The facts that we had were wrong,” department spokesman Richard Boucher said.

The report, issued in April, said attacks had declined last year to the lowest level in 34 years and dropped 45 percent since 2001, Mr. Bush’s first year as president.

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said the errors were partly the result of new data-collection procedures. “I can assure you it had nothing to do with putting out anything but the most honest, accurate information we can,” he said.

RUSSIA

Two suspects held in Chechen’s killing

ROSTOV-ON-DON — Authorities announced the detention of two suspects yesterday in the killing of Kremlin-backed Chechen President Akhmad Kadyrov last month.

The two suspects “participated in preparing and carrying out the explosion” that killed Mr. Kadyrov and five others at a stadium in Chechnya’s capital, Grozny, on May 9, Deputy Prosecutor General Sergei Fridinsky said.

COLOMBIA

Government ready for truce with rebels

BOGOTA — The government is prepared to suspend fighting against the smaller of two rebel groups in Colombia if the guerrillas agree to a cease-fire, a senior official said yesterday, boosting prospects for a peace accord.

A delegation representing President Alvaro Uribe was dispatched to present the proposal to a jailed commander of the National Liberation Army (ELN).

Francisco Galan, the jailed commander, said last week that a bilateral cease-fire and the release of political prisoners could lead to peace talks with the government. The 5,000-strong ELN, along with a larger rebel group, has fought a series of governments in Colombia for 40 years.

TURKEY

Bosporus to be partly shut for NATO

ANKARA — Turkey’s Bosporus, a major shipping lane cutting through the heart of Istanbul, will be shut to “dangerous cargoes,” including oil tankers, during a NATO summit in the city this month, a Foreign Ministry official said yesterday.

Security for the summit is of special concern after four al Qaeda-linked explosions at Jewish and British sites killed more than 60 people in November.

Ships, including passenger and military vessels, would be allowed to pass through the narrow, twisting strait during the summit from June 27 to 29, to be attended by President Bush and about 40 other leaders.

DENMARK

Atheist pastor suspended again

COPENHAGEN — The Lutheran minister who proclaimed last year that there was no God or afterlife was suspended for a second time yesterday for ignoring church orders not to repeat those beliefs from the pulpit.

Bishop Lise-Lotte Rebel of the Helsingoer Diocese suspended the Rev. Thorkild Grosboell, pastor of Taarbaek, and handed his case to the government for action. In Denmark, Lutheran ministers are employed by the state, and only the government can fire them.

Mr. Grosboell was first suspended after a May 2003 interview in which he said “there is no heavenly God, there is no eternal life, there is no resurrection.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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