- The Washington Times - Friday, January 13, 2006

ISRAEL

U.S. to cut aid if Hamas wins vote

JERUSALEM — U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority would be reviewed and possibly reduced if it gave Hamas a role in government after this month’s Palestinian election, U.S. diplomatic sources said yesterday.

The United States wants the Jan. 25 parliamentary election to take place as scheduled to strengthen Palestinian democracy and has reluctantly accepted Hamas’ participation in the vote.

But Washington is wary that Hamas, making its first bid for parliamentary seats, could make a strong enough showing against Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas’ dominant Fatah Party to win Cabinet seats.

IRAQ

Saddam trial judge plans to quit

SULAIMANIYAH — The chief judge in the trial of Saddam Hussein plans to step down, a source close to the judge told Reuters news agency yesterday, in a development that could throw an already turbulent process into further disarray.

Kurdish Judge Rizgar Amin will preside over the next sitting of the court on Jan. 24 and then announce his reasons for withdrawing, the source said.

Two defense lawyers for some of Saddam’s seven co-accused have been killed. Initially only Judge Amin was seen on camera, although one of the other five judges has since been identified.

VENEZUELA

Chavez hits U.S. halt on Spanish arms deal

CARACAS — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez yesterday criticized a United States block on a Spanish military deal with his government as “horrific imperialism” and an attack against his socialist revolution.

Washington said Thursday it had refused an export license for Spain to sell 12 transport and maritime surveillance planes containing U.S. technology to Venezuela.

Spain said yesterday it planned to go ahead with the sale, using substitute technology.

UZBEKISTAN

U.S. group’s office ordered shut

TASHKENT — Uzbek authorities have suspended the activities of a U.S. nongovernmental organization for six months for breaking Uzbek law, the group said yesterday.

The office of Freedom House was closed by a court ruling after the Uzbek Justice Ministry accused the group of unlawfully providing free Internet access to Uzbek human rights activists even though the group had already stopped doing so, the head of the group’s Tashkent office, Branka Sesto, said.

PHILIPPINES

U.S. to give reward for tip on militant

MANILA — The United States will give $100,000 to a Filipino whose tip led to the arrest of a Muslim militant wanted for the kidnapping and murder of two American tourists, the U.S. Embassy said yesterday.

The unnamed Filipino will receive the bounty next week for information leading to the arrest of Toting Hanno, alias Jacaria last January.

Hanno was part of a gang of Abu Sayyaf militants that kidnapped a group of tourists and hotel workers, including three Americans in May 2001.

SRI LANKA

Truce monitor base hit by grenade attack

COLOMBO — Attackers threw a grenade into the compound of truce monitors in Sri Lanka’s restive east early today, damaging vehicles and a building but causing no injuries, officials said.

The first direct attack against the monitors since a 2002 cease-fire halted a two-decade civil war came just hours after the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission reprimanded both Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam rebels and the government over a rise in violence.

Some 60 unarmed monitors, all from Nordic countries, have been in the compound since 2002.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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