- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 2, 2006

BRITAIN

U.S. Embassy tops deadbeat list

LONDON — The mayor of London lashed out at U.S. diplomats yesterday for refusing to pay a vehicle levy in the capital after figures revealed that the U.S. Embassy was the worst fine dodger in the past six months.

It racked up $495,000 dollars in fines over that period, according to data released under freedom of information laws. The U.S. Embassy decided in July last year that it would not pay the levy, arguing that it was a local tax, and therefore, did not apply to foreign diplomats.

This move triggered a fight with London Mayor Ken Livingstone, who insists that all embassies should pay the eight-pounds-a-day charge.

SWITZERLAND

Top skier, brother killed in Alps home

LES CROSETS — Former Swiss skiing star Corinne Rey-Bellet and her brother, Alain, were fatally shot in their parents’ home, and police were trying to find Mrs. Rey-Bellet’s husband.

The attack late Sunday night occurred in the Swiss mountain resort of Les Crosets, according to the Valais state police. Mrs. Rey-Bellet’s mother, who was left hospitalized with serious injuries, was able to call police.

Police said the attacker, who fired five shots, fled and eluded a search.

Police spokesman Renato Kalbermatten said authorities were trying to find Mrs. Rey-Bellet’s husband, who lived with her and their 2-year-old son in Abtwil.

CANADA

Troops kill up to 20 Taliban

KABUL, Afghanistan — Canadian troops killed up to 20 Taliban insurgents who were preparing to ambush a military convoy in southern Afghanistan, a Canadian military spokesman said yesterday.

The weekend clash took place in the southern province of Helmand, where yesterday British forces took over security responsibilities from U.S. forces.

Violence has intensified in Afghanistan in recent months with scores of people killed in clashes and suicide blasts as NATO members, including Canada and Britain, build up troop numbers in the dangerous south.

GAZA

Journalists threatened over Hamas coverage

GAZA — A handful of Palestinian journalists have reported receiving death threats for their critical coverage of the Islamic militant group Hamas since it began running the government in March, a press group said yesterday.

The Palestinian Journalists’ Union said seven journalists in the Gaza Strip, mostly sympathetic to President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party, had received threats by e-mail, phone or fax — made in Hamas’ name — to harm or kill them for their coverage.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri denied the group had threatened journalists, saying the calls were a fraudulent attempt to “damage Hamas’ image.” He urged security forces to investigate.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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