- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 30, 2007

BRITAIN

Blair: No exemption on gay adoption

LONDON — Britain will not exempt Catholic adoption agencies from new anti-discrimination laws that the church fears could force them to place children with same-sex couples, Prime Minister Tony Blair said yesterday.

The adoption agencies will be granted a transition period, until the end of next year, to adjust to the new law, he said.

Church and state have been locked in confrontation since Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, called for Catholic adoption agencies to be exempted from a new anti-discrimination law.

PAKISTAN

Suicide bomber kills 2 in northwest

ISLAMABAD — A suicide bomber killed himself, a policeman and a passer-by in northwestern Pakistan yesterday after police stopped him at a checkpoint, a doctor and security officials said.

The blast, the third suicide attack in Pakistan since Friday, occurred while police were on high alert for sectarian attacks during Shi’ite Muslim ceremonies this week.

Security officials in Dera Ismail Khan said earlier six persons were arrested late on Sunday on suspicion of planning suicide attacks and explosives had been seized from the suspects.

VENEZUELA

Chavez to get more power

CARACAS — Venezuelan lawmakers said yesterday they would give President Hugo Chavez special powers to make changes to the country’s oil, gas and electricity industries by presidential decree.

National Assembly President Cilia Flores said lawmakers loyal to Mr. Chavez would approve an “enabling law” allowing the leader to pass measures by decree for 18 months in the “energy sphere” in addition to 10 other areas announced earlier, ranging from the economy to defense.

“We are in complete agreement with the executive branch legislating on energy issues,” Mrs. Flores said. She said the law would permit Mr. Chavez to make “necessary adaptations” in the oil industry, as well as the natural gas and electricity sectors.

The pending bill is expected to receive final approval on its second reading in the assembly as early as tomorrow.

CONGO

International court to try warlord

THE HAGUE — The International Criminal Court yesterday ordered a purported Congolese warlord to be tried on charges he recruited child soldiers and sent them into battle, making him the first suspect to stand trial at the permanent war crimes court.

The evidence against Thomas Lubanga was strong enough to “establish substantial grounds to believe” that he was responsible “for war crimes consisting of enlisting and conscripting children under the age of 15,” said presiding Judge Claude Jorda of France.

The children were forced to take part in armed conflicts, the three-judge panel found, issuing its findings from a preliminary hearing in November.

ISRAEL

Dead soldier’s family can make his baby

JERUSALEM — In a precedent-setting decision, an Israeli court has ruled that a dead soldier’s family can have his sperm impregnated into the body of a woman he never met.

Keivan Cohen, 20, was fatally shot in 2002 by a Palestinian sniper in the Gaza Strip. He was single and left no will. But at the urging of his parents, a sample of his sperm was taken two hours after his death and has been stored in a hospital since.

When the family tried to gain access to the sperm, however, the hospital refused, on the ground that only a spouse could make such a request.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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