- The Washington Times - Friday, November 18, 2005

SRI LANKA

Rebel boycott helps prime minister’s win

COLOMBO — Sri Lanka’s hawkish prime minister, Mahinda Rajapakse, won the island’s presidency yesterday after a Tamil Tiger boycott torpedoed his main rival, and he vowed to forge an “honorable peace” with the rebels.

Thursday’s vote was seen as a referendum on how to rescue the island’s faltering peace process and tsunami-hit economy, but the rebels scared away ethnic Tamil voters who had been expected to back opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Mr. Rajapakse received 4,887,152 votes, or 50.29 percent, and Mr. Wickremesinghe received 4,706,366 votes, or 48.43 percent. The two were separated by just 180,786 votes, but over half a million Tamils in the north and east, many of whom were expected to back Mr. Wickremesinghe, stayed away.

UNITED NATIONS

Rights experts say they won’t visit Gitmo

GENEVA — U.N. human rights experts said yesterday they will not visit the Guantanamo Bay military prison because U.S. officials barred them from talking privately with detained terror suspects, making it impossible for the monitors to fairly assess conditions at the facility.

The United States had invited three experts appointed by the U.N. Human Rights Commission whose mandate is to check on rights abuses around the world.

ISRAEL

Nuke whistleblower held in West Bank

JERUSALEM — Nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu was arrested by Israeli police yesterday after visiting the West Bank, authorities said.

The former technician at Israel’s main nuclear reactor last year completed an 18-year prison sentence for revealing Israel’s nuclear capability to a British newspaper in 1986.

An Israeli court had ruled in May that an earlier visit by Mr. Vanunu to the Palestinian areas did not constitute a violation of the conditions of his release, which forbid him from visiting foreign countries.

AFGHANISTAN

Portuguese soldier killed in blast

KABUL — A Portuguese soldier was killed yesterday and three others were wounded when an explosion struck their vehicles outside Kabul, officials said.

The blast in the Bagrami district came four days after eight persons — including a German peacekeeper — were killed when suicide bombers rammed cars filled with explosives into vehicles carrying peacekeepers in Kabul.

BURKINA FASO

President wins a third term

OUAGADOUGOU — Burkina Faso’s President Blaise Compaore stormed to a third consecutive term yesterday with a landslide victory, results from the West African country’s electoral commission showed.

Mr. Compaore took 80 percent of the vote in Sunday’s election. His nearest rival, Benewende Sankara, won just 5 percent.

A new law in Burkina Faso prohibits presidents from standing for more than two terms but the Constitutional Court ruled the law could not be applied retroactively, clearing the way for Mr. Compaore’s campaign and infuriating his opponents.

BRITAIN

Charles sues over publication

LONDON — Prince Charles is taking legal action against a newspaper that published details from his private journals, his office said yesterday.

Charles is taking action against Associated Newspapers, publishers of the Mail on Sunday, which printed details of the prince’s view of the British transfer of Hong Kong to China in 1997. One comment described Chinese diplomats as “appalling old waxworks.”

RUSSIA

Chechen leader hurt in car crash

MOSCOW — The prime minister of Russia’s conflict-torn province of Chechnya was seriously injured in a car crash outside Moscow in what officials said yesterday was a traffic accident and not an assassination attempt.

Sergei Abramov is the second most senior official in the Moscow-backed administration in Chechnya, which is to hold parliamentary elections in 10 days.

The crash occurred late Thursday when the car in which Mr. Abramov was traveling collided with a truck west of Moscow.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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