- The Washington Times - Friday, April 28, 2006

NEPAL

King appoints octogenarian leader

KATMANDU — The king named an ailing 84-year-old politician as Nepal’s prime minister yesterday, hours after communist insurgents announced a temporary cease-fire to give the new government much-needed breathing room.

Girija Prasad Koirala was chosen as prime minister by the alliance of political parties behind weeks of bloody protests that forced King Gyanendra to restore democracy in this Himalayan nation. But Mr. Koirala’s illness could keep him from the first session of the reinstated Parliament today.

His spokesman, Krishna Sitaula, offered few details of Mr. Koirala’s ailment, saying only that it was a lung problem. Mr. Koirala, a former prime minister, would be examined by doctors before he decides whether to attend parliament, the spokesman said.

TURKEY

Troops deployed against rebels

ANKARA — Turkey has deployed more than 30,000 additional troops in its predominantly Kurdish southeast and along its rugged border with Iraq and Iran to fight Kurdish guerrillas and stop them from coming across the frontier, officials said yesterday.

Kurdish rebels killed two Turkish soldiers and injured a third in a grenade attack Wednesday on a military outpost, the Anatolia news agency reported, raising the number of Turkish troops killed this year to at least 17. More than 40 Kurdish guerrillas have been killed this year in a series of clashes.

SWEDEN

Israeli planes prompt drill boycott

STOCKHOLM — Sweden has angered Israel by pulling its air force out of a multinational peacekeeping drill in Italy in mid-May because Israeli fliers would be taking part.

The Israeli Embassy said yesterday that it was “surprised” by the decision, adding that it seemed to rule out any Swedish role in peacekeeping in the Middle East.

Sweden and Israel’s relations are often prickly over the Nordic nation’s support for the Palestinians, to which both Sweden and neighboring Norway have been major aid donors.

BELARUS

Opposition leader jailed for 15 days

MINSK — A Belarusian opposition leader was arrested yesterday and sentenced to 15 days in jail for taking part in an unsanctioned protest.

Police detained Alexander Milinkevich, a day after a large rally and march in Minsk in opposition to authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, during a visit to Bulgaria, called the arrest and jail sentence “reprehensible.”

EGYPT

Al Jazeera reporter freed on bail

CAIRO — Al Jazeera’s Cairo bureau chief was released on $1,745 bail yesterday and charged with propagating lies with his reporting on the Sinai resort bombings this week, the pan-Arab satellite channel reported.

Hussein Abdel Ghani was detained Wednesday evening in Dahab, the Sinai resort struck by three bombs on Monday that killed 18 persons and wounded scores.

The Dahab attacks were the third strike on Sinai tourist resorts in the past two years. Eager to avoid damage to Sinai’s vital tourist trade by linking al Qaeda to the bombings, Egyptian authorities have attempted to blame Bedouin tribesmen instead of Islamic terrorists for past attacks.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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