- The Washington Times - Friday, March 5, 2004

AFGHANISTAN

Turkish engineer, Afghan soldier killed

KANDAHAR — Suspected Taliban gunmen killed a Turkish engineer and an Afghan soldier yesterday after stopping their car along a main road linking the capital with the turbulent south, a local army commander and Turkish officials said.

Another Turkish engineer and the car’s driver were abducted. The attack occurred in the early afternoon along the Kabul-Kandahar highway in the district of Shahjoy, in Zabul province.

Turkish and Indian engineers involved in a project to repave the Kabul-Kandahar highway have been abducted several times in the past.

LIBERIA

U.S. seeks freeze of Taylor’s assets

NEW YORK — Washington yesterday accused exiled Liberian President Charles Taylor of continuing to undermine West African peace and stability from his new home in Nigeria and asked the United Nations to freeze his assets.

The United States asked the U.N. Security Council to quickly adopt a resolution barring him “from using misappropriated funds and property to interfere in the restoration of peace and stability” in Liberia and the region.

Mr. Taylor went into exile in Nigeria last August under U.S. pressure during a rebel siege of the Liberian capital.

INDIA

Defense deal with Israel signed

NEW DELHI — India and Israel signed a $1 billion deal yesterday for the supply of three Phalcon airborne early warning radar systems to New Delhi, a defense spokesman said.

Under the agreement approved by the Israeli Cabinet on Sunday, Israel would buy Ilyushin-76 cargo aircraft from Uzbekistan, which would then be sent to Russia to be fitted with new high-powered engines.

After structural modifications, the aircraft would be sent to Israel to be mounted with the Airborne Warning and Control System radar and the complete aircraft would be delivered to India.

RUSSIA

New prime minister aims to trim Cabinet

MOSCOW — Russia’s new prime minister, Mikhail Fradkov, pledged yesterday to slim down and reshuffle the government and tackle a lumbering bureaucracy that is stifling the nation’s economic potential.

His pledge was in response to calls for more effective administration by President Vladimir Putin, who nominated him earlier this week.

Mr. Fradkov was speaking to the State Duma after the lower house confirmed him in the top government job.

MACEDONIA

Balkan leaders attend president’s funeral

SKOPJE — Macedonia’s peacemaker President Boris Trajkovski, who died in a plane crash last week, was buried in a state funeral in Skopje yesterday.

Leaders from the Balkans and Central Europe paid their last respects and tens of thousands of people lined the streets to see his flag-draped coffin, flanked by an army honor guard.

Mr. Trajkovski, 47, a lawyer and a devout Methodist, was credited with holding the ethnically divided republic together in 2001 at a time when hard-liners seemed bent on war.

GERMANY

Court says state won’t pay for brothel visits

BERLIN — A court yesterday rejected an unemployed man’s demand for four government-paid brothel visits a month to ensure his “health and bodily well-being” while his wife is abroad.

The 35-year-old welfare recipient sought about $3,050 a month to fund the brothel trips, along with eight pornographic videos and transport costs to and from a video store. He sued the state after authorities refused to pay for his Thai wife to fly back to Germany.

In August, an unemployed Frankfurt man won state-funded treatment with the impotency drug Viagra. Later, another court ruled that German social services must pay a 64-year-old expatriate’s $875-a-month rent in Miami.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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