- The Washington Times - Friday, September 24, 2004

EGYPT

Mubarak son eyed to succeed father

CAIRO — Gamal Mubarak, the son of the Egyptian president, strode into the limelight this week with two prominent speeches at a ruling party conference that may further fuel speculation he is being groomed to succeed his father.

The younger Mr. Mubarak, 40, radiated confidence at a question-and-answer session with the press just before the National Democratic Party (NDP) conference closed yesterday, his emphatic hand gestures setting cameras snapping.

President Hosni Mubarak, 76, is widely expected to seek a fifth term next year.

PHILIPPINES

Letter points to terrorist ties

MANILA — A letter reportedly written by the leader of the Abu Sayyaf militant group discusses what appears to be plans for terrorist training with another extremist group, Jemaah Islamiyah, Philippine officials said yesterday.

Jemaah Islamiyah, al Qaeda’s key ally in Southeast Asia, maintains active ties with Abu Sayyaf and the larger Moro Islamic Liberation Front group of Muslim separatists based in the country’s south, according to a confidential terrorism threat assessment. It has been training recruits in the southern Philippines for at least seven years.

The one-page letter by Khaddafy Janjalani to another suspected Abu Sayyaf commander, Noor Mohammad Umog, was seized by police in Umog’s house in southern Cotabato City shortly after his arrest in 2002. A copy was obtained by the Associated Press.

FRANCE

Lesbian parenthood OK sans ‘marriage’

PARIS — A pioneering French court decision has recognized a lesbian couple as joint parents of their children, but the ruling risks becoming a legal anomaly rather than a breakthrough for homosexual “marriage” seekers.

Homosexual lobby groups yesterday hailed the decision as historic in a country where homosexuals cannot adopt children and the first same-sex “marriage” — performed by a maverick mayor in June — was promptly annulled.

Justice Minister Dominique Perben put a damper on their hopes, saying France’s highest appeals court could rule the previously unpublished July 2004 decision — which cannot be overturned — does not qualify as a precedent for future cases.

ISRAEL

Whistle-blower wants out, fears for safety

ATHENS — Freed nuclear whistle-blower Mordechai Vanunu said yesterday he was still not safe in Israel and wanted to leave the country after serving 18 years in jail for leaking Israel’s atomic secrets.

Mr. Vanunu spent 18 years in jail after Israeli agents abducted him and convicted him of treason for revealing nuclear secrets to a British newspaper.

He was freed in April, but an Israeli court imposed a one-year travel ban on him and then rejected his appeal to leave the country, saying he remained a threat to national security.

CHINA

Sanctions imposed; promise broken

BEIJING — The United States has imposed sanctions on a Chinese government weapons supplier that it says exported missile technology in violation of efforts to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction, the U.S. Embassy said yesterday.

It was the second time in two years that a major Chinese state-owned conglomerate has been punished by Washington on charges of proliferating missile technology. China has denied previous accusations and says it supports arms-control efforts.

The U.S. announcement didn’t identify what country the latest company, Xinshidai, or China New Era Group, was accused of dealing with or what it exported. But other Chinese weapons makers have been accused of helping Iran’s missile program.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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