- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 26, 2006

NEPAL

Maoists reject king’s move

KATMANDU — Tens of thousands of people flooded Katmandu’s streets to celebrate yesterday after Nepal’s opposition called off weeks of bloody anti-monarchy protests that forced the king to restore parliament.

But with their Maoist rebel allies dismissing the king’s move as a ploy — and warning the opposition parties that their acceptance of it was a betrayal — it was clear that the Himalayan nation’s political crisis was far from done.

For a few hours, though, celebration was the focus, as opposition leaders nominated former Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala to head the new government, and the capital came back to life.

ISRAEL

Satellite to spy on Iran launched

JERUSALEM — Israel put a new observation satellite into service from Russia yesterday that will increase the levels of surveillance of Iran’s nuclear program.

The satellite was launched from a military space launch site in Russia’s far eastern Amur region aboard a Topol solid-fuel rocket booster, the ITAR-Tass news agency said, quoting a spokesman for the facility, Alexei Kuznetsov.

In a brief item posted on its Web site, the Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot quoted an unnamed defense official as saying the satellite would be used to spy on Iran’s nuclear activities.

IRAN

Hide-and-seek threatened on nukes

TEHRAN — Iran threatened yesterday to begin hiding its nuclear program if the West takes any “harsh measures” against it — Tehran’s sharpest rebuttal yet to a U.N. Security Council deadline to suspend uranium enrichment or face potential sanctions.

Iran’s supreme leader, meanwhile, said in a meeting with the president of war-torn Sudan that Tehran was ready to transfer its nuclear technology to other countries.

Iran’s warning to the United Nations’ watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, came from Tehran’s top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani. They were the strongest words of defiance yet in advance of a Friday deadline, set by the Security Council, for Iran to suspend enrichment of uranium, a process that can produce fuel for nuclear reactors or material for warheads.

VIETNAM

Manh renamed chief of Communist Party

HANOI — Seeking to keep up the momentum that has made Vietnam the fastest-growing economy in Southeast Asia, the ruling Communist Party yesterday reappointed its top leader to deepen market reforms and fight corruption.

Nong Duc Manh, 65, was formally re-elected to a second term as party chief at the closing session of the party congress.

Mr. Manh, a Soviet-trained forestry engineer who spent a decade as chairman of the National Assembly before winning the top post in 2001, is viewed as a steady supporter of reforms within the one-party system.

He retained his post as the head of the party and the first-among-equals in the ruling troika that includes President Tran Duc Luong and Prime Minister Phan Van Khai — both of whom are scheduled to retire.

SOLOMON ISLANDS

Prime minister quits after just a week

HONIARA — The new Solomon Islands prime minister whose election last week sparked two days of rioting and looting in the archipelago’s capital resigned today after losing support in parliament.

Snyder Rini announced his resignation just before lawmakers in the South Pacific nation were due to vote on a motion of no confidence in the prime minister. He told members of parliament he was quitting “so all MPs can come together, so this country can go forward.”

CANADA

Tories back alternative to Kyoto Protocol

OTTAWA — Canada’s new Conservative government, which is openly skeptical about the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, said yesterday it backs a breakaway group of six nations that favor a voluntary approach to cutting emissions of greenhouse gases.

The Conservatives — whose power base is in the energy-rich western province of Alberta — say Canada cannot meet its Kyoto targets for cutting greenhouse-gas emissions.

Environment Minister Rona Ambrose said she favors the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate, which groups the United States, Australia, Japan, China, India and South Korea. The pact looks at how to develop technologies to reduce emissions rather than having specific reduction targets.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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