- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 6, 2005

ISRAEL

Jews said to poison Palestinian sheep

HEBRON, West Bank — Israeli police said yesterday they were investigating accusations that Jewish settlers fatally poisoned sheep belonging to Palestinians in a bid to drive Palestinians off their land in the West Bank.

A settler spokeswoman denied the Palestinian charges that Jews deposited wheat pellets laced with a deadly chemical on grazing land near Hebron, killing 20 of their sheep.

It was the latest chapter in a history of bitter conflict between Jewish settlers who stake a biblical claim to occupied territory and Palestinians who want it for an independent state.

CUBA

Castro church visit is top news story

HAVANA — Cuban President Fidel Castro’s praise of Pope John Paul II and his attendance at a Mass in the pontiff’s honor — a rare sighting of the Cuban leader inside a church — filled the front pages of the island’s state-run newspapers yesterday.

Roman Catholic officials in Cuba have expressed gratitude and even surprise at the communist government’s response to the pope’s death. Baseball games were canceled and all bars and nightclubs closed as the government observed three days of mourning.

Church officials said it was the first time Mr. Castro had been inside the cathedral in decades, with one of the last occasions being his sister’s wedding in 1959.

UNITED NATIONS

Annan tells staff of ‘personal pain’

NEW YORK — Secretary-General Kofi Annan told his staff yesterday of his “personal pain” from attacks on the United Nations over the scandal-tainted oil-for-food program for Iraq and his son’s links to it.

“To see the institution you have devoted your life to being hammered and attacked, in most cases unfairly, was very difficult to digest, and I can imagine what impact it had on you and on staff morale,” Mr. Annan said at a rare public meeting with staff.

KYRGYZSTAN

No quorum to vote on Akayev exit

BISHKEK — Kyrgyz lawmakers failed to show up in sufficient numbers yesterday to accept the resignation of President Askar Akayev, leaving the ousted leader still technically in power and extending a two-week-old political crisis.

Parliament was two short of the 50 lawmakers needed to form a quorum. Some of those who had helped negotiate Mr. Akayev’s resignation were among the legislators absent yesterday.

BRITAIN

Archbishop to attend pope’s funeral

LONDON — Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said yesterday he will attend the funeral of Pope John Paul II, becoming the first serving leader of the Church of England to attend a pontiff’s burial.

At the funeral, he will be wearing a ring presented by Pope Paul VI to a previous archbishop of Canterbury, Michael Ramsey. Archbishop Ramsey was retired when he attended Paul VI’s funeral.

Pope John Paul II visited Canterbury Cathedral during his trip to Britain in 1982.

TURKEY

Attacker barred from pope’s funeral

ANKARA — Authorities yesterday turned down a request by the man who shot and seriously wounded Pope John Paul II in 1981 to leave prison and attend the pontiff’s funeral, his attorney said.

Mehmet Ali Agca was seeking permission under a Turkish law that allows 72 hours’ leave to prisoners who have served a quarter of their term and have shown “good behavior.”

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