- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 13, 2005

BRITAIN

British Airways back in business

LONDON — More than 80 percent of British Airways flights were expected to operate yesterday from Heathrow Airport here as staff worked to clear the backlog caused by a crippling wildcat strike.

A spokeswoman warned it would take several days to resume normal service, however, after the strike grounded more than 110,000 passengers during the peak summer holiday season.

About 1,000 airline staff walked out on Thursday in support of workers who were sacked at the company’s catering supplier. More than 700 flights since have been canceled.

ITALY

Troop withdrawal begins in Iraq

ROME — Italy has started reducing its presence in Iraq, a month ahead of schedule, by drawing down the first 130 troops in a planned 300-troop withdrawal, a Rome-based military source said yesterday.

The source, who declined to be identified, said the decision to bring forward the September start date of the partial troop reduction was logistical and financial — and not political.

Italy has about 3,000 troops in Iraq, the fourth-largest foreign contingent there after the United States, Britain and South Korea.

BRITAIN

Fergie, Andrew friends, not to be roommates

LONDON — The Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, is not about to move in with her ex-husband, Prince Andrew, her spokeswoman said yesterday, despite an apparent thaw in relations with the British royal family.

The 45-year-old duchess, currently renting a property in Surrey, southern England, joined the prince and their daughters for a break with Queen Elizabeth II at Balmoral last week — a sign, said some commentators, that she is welcome back into the royal fold.

Popularly known as “Fergie,” she always has remained close to the Duke of York and moved back in with him at one point after their divorce in 1996.

GERMANY

Masked thugs charged after pilgrims attack

BERLIN — Three masked vandals attacked an information tent in an encampment of pilgrims on their way to attend the World Youth Day festival with Pope Benedict XVI this week, police said yesterday.

The attackers, aged 15, 18 and 21, were arrested later as they escaped by car, according to a prepared statement by police at Volkenroda, in eastern Germany, where the attack occurred.

The three, who had been drinking, were charged and provisionally freed.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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