- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 27, 2006

NEPAL

Maoist rebels declare cease-fire

KATMANDU — Nepal’s Maoist rebels declared a three-month unilateral cease-fire starting today, and said the move reflected their desire for the formation of a special assembly to write a new constitution.

“Our People’s Liberation Army will not carry out any offensive military action during this period and will remain defensive,” rebel chief Prachanda said.

The Maoists have been fighting to overthrow the monarchy since 1996, and at least 13,000 people have been killed.

LEBANON

U.S. freezes assets in Hariri probe

President Bush yesterday authorized freezing the assets of anyone involved in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri last year.

Mr. Bush underscored suspicions about Syrian involvement in the Feb. 14, 2005, Beirut bomb attack that killed Mr. Hariri and 20 others. An investigative commission set up by the United Nations has linked Syrian and Lebanese intelligence agents to the killing. Syrian President Bashar Assad has denied the charges.

In an executive order, Mr. Bush authorized the secretary of the Treasury to freeze assets of people yet to be identified who are determined to have been involved in Mr. Hariri’s death or to have obstructed the work of the U.N. investigators.

EGYPT

Two bombers kill themselves in Sinai

ISMAILIA — Two men blew themselves up in Egypt’s north Sinai yesterday in what appeared to be abortive attacks by a mysterious militant group on a multinational peace force and on the Egyptian police.

One bomber died near an airport used by the Multinational Force and Observers, which monitors the border with Israel, and another close to an Egyptian police vehicle.

A Cabinet spokesman said the incidents could be linked to bombings that killed 18 persons in Dahab on Monday — the third attack in two years on Sinai resorts frequented by foreign tourists.

IRAN

Khamenei threatens U.S. interests

TEHRAN — Iran’s supreme leader warned Washington yesterday that his nation would hit back twice as hard if the United States attacked Iranian nuclear sites.

Even as it threatened to ravage U.S. global interests, Iran sent its top nuclear official to Vienna, Austria, for talks with the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog agency ahead of a Security Council deadline tomorrow for Tehran to halt its uranium-enrichment activities.

“The Americans should know that if they invade Iran, their interests around the world would be harmed,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told workers gathered ahead of May Day, the international labor holiday, state television reported.

“Iran will respond twofold to any attack,” the supreme leader declared.

HAITI

Preval falls short in legislative election

PORT-AU-PRINCE — President-elect Rene Preval’s Lespwa movement fell short of the majority it needs to choose the next prime minister and Cabinet, winning 11 of 27 Senate seats and 20 of 85 seats in the lower house in a runoff legislative election.

Mr. Preval, who won the presidency after the first round of voting in the chaotic Caribbean nation on Feb. 7, still may be able to govern effectively by reaching out to several rival parties.

Mr. Preval, who served as president from 1996 to 2001, will be sworn in May 14.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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