- The Washington Times - Friday, January 27, 2006

CHILE

Pinochet’s daughter drops asylum bid

SANTIAGO — The eldest daughter of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet was preparing to return to South America late yesterday, said a government spokesman, after she dropped her request for political asylum in the United States. She had fled to avoid tax evasion charges.

Lucia Pinochet Hiriart, 64, was expected to fly from Washington to Argentina, said spokesman Osvaldo Puccio. “We have information that [she] will leave tonight on a flight for Buenos Aires,” Mr. Puccio said.

Mrs. Hiriart was detained and denied entry Wednesday at Washington’s Dulles International Airport upon arriving from Argentina. After 12 hours of questioning, she had requested political asylum.

VENEZUELA

Chavez warns he’ll jail U.S. spy suspects

CARACAS — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez threatened yesterday to arrest American officials if they are caught gathering intelligence about Venezuela’s military.

His warning came hours after Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel claimed that officials at the U.S. Embassy were involved in a spying case involving the arrest of several Venezuelan military officers, purportedly for passing sensitive information to the Pentagon.

BOLIVIA

Morales cuts salary, declares it a cap

LA PAZ — Five days into forming his leftist government, President Evo Morales cut his salary in half and declared no Cabinet minister can collect a higher wage than his own, with the savings to be used to hire more public school teachers.

The move followed a campaign pledge to tackle political corruption and restore honesty to the government of South America’s poorest country. But critics called it a propaganda ploy that will do little to help the needy.

ITALY

Hearing begins in Jesus case

VITERBO — An Italian judge heard arguments yesterday on whether a small-town parish priest should stand trial for asserting that Jesus Christ existed.

The priest’s atheist accuser, Luigi Cascioli, says the Roman Catholic Church has been deceiving people for 2,000 years with a fable that Christ existed, and that the Rev. Enrico Righi violated two Italian laws with the claim.

Lawyers for Father Righi and Mr. Cascioli, old schoolmates, made their arguments in a brief, closed-door hearing in Viterbo, north of Rome. Judge Gaetano Mautone is expected to announce his decision Monday.

JAPAN

Chemist faces probe in genetic research

TOKYO — Japan’s most prestigious university will discipline a chemistry professor after finding that 12 of his experiments could not be reproduced, raising questions about their validity, a university spokesman said yesterday.

The finding by an investigative panel at the University of Tokyo comes just weeks after the scientific world was rocked by a South Korean university’s declaration that a professor’s claim of cloning human stem cells was fraudulent.

In papers published in the British journal Nature and elsewhere between 1998 and 2004, Kazunari Taira said his research team successfully coaxed E. coli bacteria to produce the human enzyme Dicer.

POLAND

Auschwitz survivors mark anniversary

OSWIECIM — Survivors of the most infamous Nazi death camp, Auschwitz, yesterday marked the 61st anniversary of its liberation and looked to a May visit there by German-born Pope Benedict XVI as a sign of healing.

At the somber ceremony, Polish Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz warned that hatred and anti-Semitism were still dangers.

More than 1.5 million people died at Auschwitz-Birkenau, set up by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland as its most efficient killing machine in the so-called Final Solution, the genocide of European Jews. More than 1 million Jews were killed there, along with Gypsies, Poles and Russians.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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