- The Washington Times - Monday, June 4, 2007

IRAN

President predicts destruction of Israel

TEHRAN — President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad yesterday said the world would witness the destruction of Israel soon, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

IRNA quoted Mr. Ahmadinejad saying that in last summer’s war between Israel and Hezbollah, “the Lebanese nation pushed the button to begin counting the days until the destruction of the Zionist regime.”

“God willing, in the near future, we will witness the destruction of the corrupt occupier regime,” Mr. Ahmadinejad was quoted as telling foreign guests mostly from African, Arab and neighboring countries.

CZECH REPUBLIC

Village referendums oppose missile plan

PRAGUE — Voters in three Czech villages near a planned U.S. missile shield radar base rejected the proposal in referendums at the weekend on the eve of a visit by President Bush.

The nonbinding ballots were unlikely to sway the center-right government of Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek in its push to host the radar base but showed growing opposition to the proposal among Czechs.

At least 95 percent of voters opposed hosting the radar base to be located at a military training site in the Brdy hills, southwest of Prague. In total, five towns in the area have overwhelming rejected the base.

CUBA

More vigorous Castro appears with visitor

HAVANA — Fidel Castro appeared more vigorous yesterday in the first television images of the Cuban leader to be broadcast in Cuba in four months.

Mr. Castro appeared talking animatedly, standing in a track suit during a meeting Saturday afternoon with Vietnamese Communist Party chief Nong Duc Manh.

Mr. Castro, 80, has not appeared in public since emergency bowel surgery forced him to hand over power 10 months ago to his brother Raul Castro for the first time since coming to power in the 1959 revolution.

GERMANY

Organizers condemn violence at protests

ROSTOCK — Organizers of anti-Group of Eight demonstrations and the press yesterday condemned violent clashes between police and a hard-core group of militants in the German port city of Rostock in which 1,000 people were injured.

A peaceful demonstration involving tens of thousands of protesters was marred on Saturday by the worst street violence seen in Germany for years when hundreds of black-clad activists bombarded police with stones and torched three cars.

Police used water cannons to disperse the militants who left a trail of destruction in the harbor city, just days before Chancellor Angela Merkel hosts the G-8 leaders in the nearby resort of Heiligendamm.

COLOMBIA

Coca production up ahead of U.S. visit

BOGOTA — Despite record drug-eradication efforts, a White House survey found production of coca in Colombia rose for the third consecutive year in 2006, President Alvaro Uribe said.

Mr. Uribe, who travels to Washington on Wednesday to secure the continued flow of U.S. anti-drug aid, revealed the findings of the still-unreleased report at the end of a long speech Friday. A transcript was posted yesterday on the president’s Web site.

Mr. Uribe said the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy survey, which is based on satellite imagery, found that production rose 8 percent last year, to 385,484 acres — an area twice the size of New York City.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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