- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 25, 2007

ECUADOR

Defense minister killed in air collision

QUITO — Ecuador’s first female defense minister was killed in a collision of two helicopters Wednesday after only nine days in office, government and military officials said.

The accident in the Andean nation further rattled the leftist government of President Rafael Correa, who has clashed with Congress over his executive powers and prompted street protests since taking office, with his ministers, on Jan. 15.

Guadalupe Larriva, a former teacher and senior official of a socialist party supporting Mr. Correa, died in the crash in a Pacific coastal province west of Quito, presidential spokeswoman Monica Chuji said.

GEORGIA

Operation foils sale of bomb-grade uranium

TBILISI — Georgian special services have foiled an attempt by a Russian citizen to sell weapons-grade uranium for $1 million to agents he thought were Islamic radicals, a senior Interior Ministry official said yesterday.

The official said that Oleg Khintsagov, a resident of Russia’s North Ossetia region, was arrested Feb. 1 and that a closed court soon after sentenced him to 81/2 years in prison.

Khintsagov was detained as he tried to sell uranium-235 to an undercover Georgian agent posing as a member of a radical Islamic group, said Shota Utiashvili, who heads the ministry’s information and analytical department.

NORWAY

Panel sees sea levels rising for millennium

OSLO — World sea levels will keep rising for more than 1,000 years even if governments manage to slow a projected surge in temperatures this century blamed on greenhouse gases, a draft U.N. climate report says.

The study, by a panel of 2,500 scientists who advise the United Nations, also says that dust from volcanic eruptions and air pollution seems to have braked warming in recent decades by reflecting sunlight back into space, scientific sources said.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will publish its report, the most complete overview of climate-change science, in Paris next Friday after a final review. It will guide policy-makers combating global warming.

TURKMENISTAN

Leader favors multiparty system

ASHGABAT — Turkmenistan’s acting leader, Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, set to win next month’s presidential election, has suggested that a multiparty political system would benefit the reclusive Central Asian state.

Turkmenistan, an ex-Soviet nation neighboring Iran, became increasingly isolated under President-for-life Saparmurat Niyazov, who ruled the country through a personality cult for 21 years until he died Dec. 21.

In a sign that Mr. Niyazov’s hard-line policies might be eased, the acting president hinted in televised remarks that he was in favor of a more pluralistic system.

PAKISTAN

Car bomb kills 2 in northwest

PESHAWAR — A car bomb exploded in the shopping district of a town in northwestern Pakistan yesterday, killing at least two passers-by and wounding four persons, police said.

The motive behind the blast in Hangu, about 60 miles south of Peshawar, was not clear. However, the town has been the scene of sectarian violence in recent years, and the attack occurred days before a major Shi’ite Muslim festival.

Last year, a suicide bomber struck the most holy festival for minority Shi’ites in Hangu, killing 28 persons.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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