- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 23, 2007

SOMALIA

Islamist leader surrenders in Kenya

NAIROBI, Kenya — A leader of Somalia’s ousted Islamic movement seen by the United States as a moderate who could help prevent widespread insurgency there has surrendered to Kenyan authorities, officials said yesterday.

Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed, described by a U.S. diplomat as someone who could play a role in reconciling Somali factions, crossed into Kenya on Sunday and went to a police station along the border. He was then flown to Nairobi, according to a police report the Associated Press saw.

The report said Kenyan authorities were protecting Sheik Ahmed, who apparently feared for his life in Somalia, where the remnants of his Islamic Courts Union are being hunted by Ethiopian and Somali government forces.

ISRAEL

Lebanon veteran to head military

JERUSALEM — A former Israeli general with years of experience fighting Lebanon’s Hezbollah guerrillas has been chosen as the chief of the armed forces, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s office said yesterday.

Gen. Gaby Ashkenazy, 52, an infantry commander and currently director of the Defense Ministry, is set to replace Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz, who quit last week over his failure to crush Hezbollah last summer during the war in Lebanon.

Mr. Olmert approved Defense Minister Amir Peretz’s nomination of Gen. Ashkenazy.

RUSSIA

U.S. missile system called a threat

MOSCOW — A U.S. proposal to install part of its missile-defense system in former Warsaw Pact nations is a “clear threat” to Russia, a leading Russian general said yesterday.

Col. Gen. Vladimir Popovkin, chief of the military’s Space Forces, which is responsible for missile detection, spoke two days after the Czech prime minister said the United States had asked to put a high-power radar base in his country as part of its global missile-defense system.

The U.S. has been negotiating with Poland and the Czech Republic, both former communist states now in NATO, as it explores setting up missile-defense sites in Eastern Europe.

NORTHERN IRELAND

Report: Cops colluded with paramilitary killers

BELFAST — Top officers in Northern Ireland’s police force allowed Protestant paramilitary informers to carry out slayings for more than a decade, a report by the British-ruled province’s police ombudsman stated yesterday.

The three-year inquiry found that Special Branch officers turned a blind eye to the criminal activities of a unit of the outlawed Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) in order to protect “agents” within its ranks.

FRANCE

Priest who helped homeless dies at 94

PARIS — Abbe Pierre, a French priest praised as a living legend for devoting his life to helping the homeless and using prayer and provocation to tackle misery, died yesterday, his foundation said. He was 94.

One of France’s most beloved public figures, Abbe Pierre died at Val-de-Grace military hospital in Paris, where he had been admitted with a lung infection Jan. 14, his foundation said.

From wires services and staff reports

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