- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 10, 2005

ISRAEL

Abbas urges calm during Israeli pullout

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — With a week to go before Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas warned his people yesterday that attacks during the pullout would harm their chances for independence.

Speaking to the Palestinian parliament, he also reassured Hamas rivals that long-overdue parliamentary elections — originally scheduled for July 17 — will be held in January, although he did not set a date.

Later yesterday, Israeli and Palestinian officials reached agreement on the disposal of rubble from the Jewish settlements that will be destroyed — a crucial point of coordination.

BRITAIN

Bomb suspect says aim was to scare

ROME — One of the prime suspects in the failed July 21 bombings in London told British and Italian investigators yesterday that a bag containing explosives and nails had been meant to scare, not to kill, his attorney said.

Hamdi Issac was seized in Rome on July 29 after fleeing London after the botched strike on the city’s transit system, in which no one was hurt. Britain on Monday charged three fellow suspects in the attacks with attempted murder.

ZIMBABWE

Mugabe to give land to 6,000 soldiers

HARARE — Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe said yesterday his government planned to allocate land to 6,000 members of the armed forces under a controversial land-redistribution program.

Mr. Mugabe also said 600 officers had been allocated stands to build houses under a reconstruction program the government embarked on after its destruction of slums in urban centers.

Mr. Mugabe has clashed with Western countries over his drive to seize large tracts of white-owned commercial farms for redistribution among blacks who Harare says were dispossessed in colonial times.

ETHIOPIA

Zenawi declared winner in May vote

ADDIS ABABA — Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi won a contentious second term, according to results from May’s election published yesterday, but the opposition again cried foul and promised a legal challenge.

Charges of fraud during the vote sparked protests and a military clampdown that left at least 36 persons dead in June and thousands under arrest.

Mr. Meles’ ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front won 296 parliamentary seats. It needed 274 for a majority. Its affiliates won 20 seats.

NEPAL

Maoist rebels kill 40 troops

KATMANDU — Nepal’s army said yesterday it had found the bodies of 40 soldiers killed fighting Maoist rebels while 76 other soldiers were still missing two days after a fierce gunbattle in the west of the country.

It was the army’s highest death toll in a single engagement since King Gyanendra sacked the prime minister and took power in February, saying political leaders had failed to quell the bloody revolt.

The rebels said Monday they had killed 159 soldiers and captured another 50 in the firefight that began late Sunday. The army rejected the claim.

COLOMBIA

Switzerland seizes drug cartel funds

GENEVA — Swiss authorities have confiscated $260,700 from bank accounts connected to the narcotics network once run by the late Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar.

Investigating Judge Jacques Antenen said he confiscated the money after failed attempts to use the accounts as leads into a larger, money-laundering network.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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