- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 12, 2004

BRITAIN

Labor Party drubbed in local elections

LONDON — Britons angry over Iraq have handed Prime Minister Tony Blair a drubbing in local elections.

Newspapers across the political spectrum agreed that Mr. Blair took a “kicking” in the local vote on Thursday, losing a whopping 477 seats and control of eight local councils, according to results from all but one of 166 councils contested in England and Wales.

The British Broadcasting Corp. projected Labor’s national vote at 26 percent, behind the Conservatives’ 38 percent and the Liberal Democrats’ 29 percent. Labor’s Ken Livingstone, a critic of Mr. Blair, was re-elected mayor of London.

The local council vote outcome, likely to be echoed in European Parliament results tomorrow, will renew speculation about Mr. Blair’s leadership.

PAKISTAN

Border raids leave dozens dead

ISLAMABAD — Pakistani troops pounded suspected al Qaeda hideouts and a training facility with artillery, mortar and small arms fire yesterday in a third day of violence in a lawless tribal region near the Afghan border.

The army said it had killed 35 insurgents. Fifteen security forces were killed in an attack on a checkpoint on the first day of the fighting Wednesday.

An army spokesman said the offensive focused on three al Qaeda-linked compounds — a training facility, a safe house and the home of a suspected terror financier — near the town of Shakai, about 15 miles west of Wana, the largest town in South Waziristan.

NETHERLANDS

Cabinet extends troops’ stay in Iraq

THE HAGUE — The Dutch Cabinet decided yesterday to extend the stay of its 1,400 troops in Iraq by eight months to help safeguard the transfer of sovereignty and elections due next January.

The decision to extend the mandate beyond July 15 came after the U.N. Security Council adopted a unanimous resolution Tuesday backing the transfer of full sovereignty to Iraqi authorities from June 30.

A government statement said the troops would stay in Iraq at least through March 2005.

SOUTH AFRICA

White extremist released from prison

POTCHEFSTROOM — Eugene Terre’Blanche, the leader of the neo-Nazi Afrikaner Resistance Movement, was released from prison yesterday after serving three years for the savage beating of a black worker for eating on the job.

Terre’Blanche, a white extremist who tried to sabotage South Africa’s first all-race election a decade ago with a bombing campaign, was paroled for good behavior. He had been sentenced to five years in prison for the 1996 beating.

About 400 supporters cheered Terre’Blanche when he was released in Potchefstroom.

NIGERIA

Unions suspend general strike

LAGOS — Labor groups representing millions of Nigerian workers abandoned a crippling three-day general strike yesterday, ending a protest that had shut down businesses and threatened oil exports from Africa’s petroleum giant.

The Nigeria Labor Congress said it was suspending the strike to give the government time to “ensure compliance” with a court order to reduce gasoline and kerosene prices, as strikers had demanded.

The unions threatened to strike again if the prices do not come down within seven days.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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