- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 8, 2007

RUSSIA

Kasparov predicts crisis in months

MOSCOW — Chess legend and Kremlin critic Garry Kasparov said yesterday that Russia’s opposition would surge in coming months as Moscow reached a “political crisis” before parliamentary and presidential elections.

“This fall, the opposition will begin a serious expansion as political crisis takes hold,” he said. “For now, we are staying true to our mission of having an ideological organization devoted to dismantling the current regime.”

Speaking to journalists during the first day of a congress by the opposition Other Russia coalition, which he jointly leads, Mr. Kasparov played down the departure last week of former co-leader Mikhail Kasyanov from the group.

Mr. Kasyanov, a former prime minister, left the coalition after its other leaders failed to support his declared presidential candidacy.

FINLAND

Estonia dominates wife-carrying race

SONKAJARVI — Estonians took gold and silver at the Wife-Carrying World Championships in Finland yesterday, defying rain and exhaustion to stumble along a path with women clinging upside-down to their backs.

They were among 44 couples from 12 countries competing in the annual event in Sonkajarvi, central Finland.

The race, held for the 12th time, is intended to evoke the spirit of a legendary Finnish brigand, Rosvo-Ronkainen, who made those who wanted to join his gang run through a forest carrying heavy sacks on their backs.

SPAIN

Running of the bulls begins in Pamplona

PAMPLONA — The running of the bulls, fueled by huge doses of adrenaline and with equally generous lashings of alcohol, began yesterday in the narrow streets of this Spanish city.

An Australian was gored in the buttocks, and another runner, a Spaniard from Navarra, was hurt in the shoulder. They were among seven persons injured on the traditional starting day of the festivities.

The number of revelers swelled this year because the traditional starting date, July 7, fell on a weekend. Last year, more than 200,000 tourists visited Pamplona, according to the city government. Numbers this year are likely to exceed that, a spokeswoman said.

NETHERLANDS

Customs deploys bird flu dogs

THE HAGUE — Dutch customs officials have deployed two special bird flu dogs at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport to check flights from high-risk countries for poultry, the authorities said yesterday.

The dogs, German shepherd Bo and Belgian shepherd Judy, are checking flights from countries where the bird flu virus has been found such as China, Thailand, Egypt, Russia and Turkey, the Dutch Ministry of Finance said.

They are trained to sniff out all kinds of poultry, alive or dead, feathers and eggs. The dogs have been working at Schiphol Airport since May. In Europe, only Czech customs agents are also working with specialized bird flu dogs, authorities said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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