- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 4, 2005

GERMANY

Schroeder drops hint he may step aside

BERLIN — Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder suggested yesterday he might be willing to surrender his claim to stay on as Germany’s leader, declaring he did not want to block the formation of a new government.

A vote Sunday in the eastern city of Dresden gave challenger Angela Merkel’s conservatives another parliamentary seat.

“I do not want to stand in the way of a continuation of the reform process that I started and a stable government in Germany,” Mr. Schroeder told the RTL and N-TV television channels.

Mrs. Merkel’s conservatives have insisted that Mr. Schroeder’s Social Democrats recognize her right to rule before the two sides can embark on talks to form a so-called “grand coalition” of Germany’s two biggest parties.

INDIA

Train jumps track; 18 passengers killed

BHOPAL — A crowded, speeding train jumped the tracks in central India yesterday and crashed into a signal cabin, killing 18 passengers and injuring about 100, authorities said.

At least 40 of the injured were in critical condition and had been transported to hospitals, police said as rescue efforts closed for the night.

Six coaches of the Bundelkhand Express derailed at Datia town in Madhya Pradesh, about 250 miles north of the state capital, Bhopal, a police officer said.

PAKISTAN

Security pact signed with India

ISLAMABAD — India and Pakistan signed agreements on security cooperation yesterday as their foreign ministers discussed a tentative peace process.

India’s Natwar Singh and his Pakistani counterpart, Khursheed Mehmood Kasuri, said their talks were going well as officials signed pacts on advance warning of ballistic missile tests and on a hot line between their coast guards.

Officials said more time will be needed to settle differences over Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region which is claimed by both countries.

POLAND

Candidate slams homosexuality

WARSAW — Poland’s likely next prime minister, Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz, says homosexuality is “unnatural” and the state should stop homosexuals from “infecting” others with their behavior, according to an interview published yesterday in the Polish edition of Newsweek.

“The spread of homosexuality is a threat to the liberty of other citizens,” said Mr. Marcinkiewicz, 46, who has been named by the conservative Law and Justice party to lead the next government.

“Homosexuality is not natural. What is natural is the family. The state must protect the family,” said Mr. Marcinkiewicz, a devout Roman Catholic and father of four.

SOUTH KOREA

Concert stampede leaves 11 dead

SEOUL — Thousands of people stampeded at a holiday concert yesterday, killing 11 and injuring more than 50, press reports said.

More than 5,000 surged to enter a gate at a stadium in the southern city of Sangju, and those waiting at the front fell and were crushed, organizers of the concert said. All the dead were elderly women or children.

The concert featured South Korean singers who are popular with older audiences. The concert was to celebrate Foundation Day, marking the legendary date of the founding of Korea in 2333 B.C.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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