- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 5, 2006

FIJI

Military replaces prime minister

SUVA — Fiji’s military overthrew the elected government yesterday after making threats for weeks, locking down the capital and putting the prime minister under house arrest in the fourth coup in the South Pacific country in 19 years.

Commodore Frank Bainimarama, the armed forces chief credited with resolving Fiji’s last coup, said he had assumed some powers of the president and was using them to dismiss Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase. He named Dr. Jona Senilagakali, a military medic with no political experience, as caretaker prime minister.

The United States suspended $2.6 million in assistance to Fiji, most of it for financing of military sales to Fiji and the training of service personnel. New Zealand announced that it was suspending defense ties with the country.

ITALY

Indictments sought in kidnapping case

MILAN — A prosecutor yesterday asked for the indictment of 26 Americans and five Italian secret service officials on a charge of kidnapping an Egyptian cleric in Milan in 2003.

Armando Spataro said the indictment request is aimed at CIA agents and the former head of the Italian military intelligence who they say were involved in the kidnapping.

All but one of the Americans have been identified by the prosecution as CIA agents, including former station chiefs in Rome and Milan, and the 26th as a U.S. Air Force officer stationed at the time at Aviano Air Base near Venice.

RUSSIA

Extradition rejected for spy suspects

MOSCOW — The chief prosecutor said yesterday that Russia would not allow the extradition of suspects in the poisoning of a former KGB agent in Britain, and he dismissed as “nonsense” claims by another ex-security officer of a death squad for Kremlin critics.

Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika said Russian prosecutors would fully cooperate with Scotland Yard, which has sent a team of British investigators to Moscow. He said all the figures in the case whom the British investigators had requested to see are being interrogated by Russian prosecutors in presence of the British officers.

SOMALIA

Government bans cars after bombings

MOGADISHU — Somalia’s weak interim government yesterday banned cars from entering the town where it is based to try to stop more car bomb attacks there.

A suicide bombing near Baidoa, about 155 miles from the capital Mogadishu, killed nine persons last week in an attack less than three months after suicide bombers narrowly missed killing President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed.

The Somalia Islamic Courts Council, the nation’s most powerful military force that has challenged the Western-backed interim administration’s authority and effectively flanked it on three sides, has denied any involvement.

Travelers now would have to use minivans and buses to go to Baidoa and be subjected to searches at checkpoints.

PAKISTAN

Musharraf proposes Kashmir self-rule

ISLAMABAD — President Pervez Musharraf said yesterday that Pakistan is willing to give up its claim to Kashmir if India reciprocates and agrees to self-governance in the disputed Himalayan region over which they have fought for decades.

The comments, in an interview aired by India’s NDTV network, were among Gen. Musharraf’s strongest yet to encourage a settlement in the bitter, 59-year dispute since the South Asian rivals began peace talks nearly three years ago.

The Indian government gave no immediate reaction.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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