- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 9, 2005

IRAQ

Severe sandstorm blinds capital

BAGHDAD — Enveloping the capital in an eerie orange glow, a blinding sandstorm yesterday reduced visibility in Baghdad to a few feet — slowing traffic to a crawl, canceling a key meeting on the Iraqi constitution and sending hundreds of people to hospitals with breathing problems.

Howling winds whipped up desert sands overnight, coating the streets of the city in a gritty, opaque haze. Although sandstorms are common in Iraq’s desert terrain, especially during the summer, the one that arrived overnight was the worst in two years.

JORDAN

Saddam’s family dissolves legal team

AMMAN — Saddam Hussein’s family yesterday fired his defense team — a squabbling assemblage of more than 1,500 Arab and Western lawyers — with only about a month left before the former Iraqi dictator goes on trial.

The family provided few details in a statement signed by Saddam’s eldest daughter, Raghad, who lives in Jordan. The announcement said only that the family has hired Iraqi lawyer Khalil Dulaimi and that the defense team was dismissed to “rearrange the legal defense campaign.”

BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA

War-crimes suspect held in Argentina

BELGRADE — A top Bosnian Serb war-crimes suspect, indicted by a United Nations tribunal for atrocities in the Bosnian war, was arrested in Argentina yesterday.

Milan Lukic, being held at a police station in Buenos Aires, was indicted by the tribunal in The Hague some years ago for crimes against humanity. He also has been sentenced to 20 years in prison in Serbia for war crimes but has been on the run since the late 1990s.

CYPRUS

Israeli ships diverted over security fears

NICOSIA — Two cruise ships from Israel carrying 1,600 passengers to Turkey were diverted to Cyprus yesterday because of security fears, the second such incident in four days.

Since Friday, 6,100 passengers on cruises to Turkey from Israel have been diverted because of what a top Israeli counterterrorism official said was “very worrying” information of potential al Qaeda attacks on global tourist spots.

BRAZIL

$68 million stolen from bank

RIO DE JANEIRO — Thieves tunneled into a bank in northeastern Brazil and stole $68 million, the biggest bank heist in the nation’s history, police said yesterday.

The thieves dug a 650-foot tunnel for three months, and broke into a branch of the central bank in the northeastern state of Ceara during the weekend. The theft was discovered yesterday morning.

The theft exceeds the amount stolen by Britain’s “Great Train Robber” Ronnie Biggs, who fled to Brazil and lived in the country for many years. His gang of 12 robbed a Glasgow-to-London mail train in 1963 and made off with 2.6 million pounds — about $53 million in today’s money.

TURKEY

Two die, five hurt in Istanbul blast

ISTANBUL — A blast tore through an apartment block in Istanbul yesterday, killing two men who police said were preparing explosives when they were blown apart from the waist down.

It was not clear who the men were, police said. The explosion wounded five persons in the building.

Turkey has been set on edge in recent weeks because of a series of blasts in various cities, some of them caused by bombs.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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