World Scene

IRAQ

Gates finds blessing in push for timetable

AMMAN, Jordan — The push by Democrats to set a timetable for U.S. withdrawal from Iraq has been helpful in showing the Iraqis that American patience is limited, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said yesterday.

At the same time, Mr. Gates renewed his opposition to congressional approval of a timetable. Both the House and Senate have passed bills calling for an end to the war, and President Bush has said he would veto either version.

“I’ve been pretty clear that I think the enactment of specific deadlines would be a bad mistake,” Mr. Gates said.

“But I think the debate itself, and I think the strong feelings expressed in the Congress about the timetable … probably has had a positive impact — at least I hope it has in terms of communicating to the Iraqis that this is not an open-ended commitment,” he said.

FRANCE

Mosque construction ordered stopped

MARSEILLE — A French court yesterday ordered construction work on a mosque in the Mediterranean port of Marseille to be suspended in response to legal action by far-right groups.

The court found in favor of the National Front (FN), the Movement for France (MPF) and the National Republican Movement (MNR), who accused the city of granting a veiled subsidy for the mosque’s construction, violating French law on the separation of church and state.

Marseille’s city hall decided in July to break a decades-long deadlock over the future mosque by allocating a plot of land for its construction, on a 99-year lease, for a charge of 300 euros per year.

RUSSIA

U.S. officials to tout missile shield

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