- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 23, 2007

IRAQ

Bomb kills 25 in Shi’ite area

BAGHDAD — A parked car bomb ripped through a outdoor market yesterday in a Shi’ite area of southwestern Baghdad, killing 25 persons and wounding at least 60.

The blast came on the first anniversary of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government. In a televised address, he said the fight against terrorism would be “open-ended and long,” and called for the creation of “salvation councils” across the country to unite Iraqis against al Qaeda militants.

The car bombing occurred in Amil, one of a series of neighborhoods along the main road to Baghdad’s airport where sectarian tensions are rising.

RUSSIA

Medvedev regains lead in polls

MOSCOW — Dmitry Medvedev, a former lawyer on the more moderate wing of the Kremlin, has regained his lead over hawkish former Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov in the latest poll on Russia’s 2008 presidential race published yesterday.

According to Russia’s leading independent pollster, the Levada Center, 34 percent of those asked this month would pick Mr. Medvedev for president, up five percentage points from last month. Mr. Ivanov’s support remained steady at 31 percent.

VENEZUELA

Chavez to fund Danny Glover movie

CARACAS — Venezuela will fund a film directed by Hollywood star Danny Glover about Haiti’s 18th-century slave rebellion against French rule, as President Hugo Chavez seeks to revive interest in his region’s battles against colonialism.

Venezuela’s Congress said on its Web site Monday it had set aside $19.7 million for two films, one of which was Mr. Glover’s movie about Haiti’s Francois-Dominique Toussaint Louverture, an revolutionary leader in the Caribbean nation.

The film would mark Mr. Glover’s debut as a feature film director. According to entertainment industry magazine Daily Variety, Mr. Glover started Louverture Films to focus on Afro-Caribbean themes and to provide opportunities for minorities.

IRAN

U.S. seeks protest of IAEA chief

VIENNA, Austria — The United States wants its allies to join in a formal protest against the head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency for suggesting that Iran be allowed to keep some elements of its uranium enrichment program, diplomats told the Associated Press yesterday.

They said Washington fears the comments from the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency could undermine U.N. Security Council’s effort to pressure Tehran into fully scrapping enrichment.

The Americans apparently are concerned Mohamed ElBaradei’s statements could exacerbate traditional splits between Russia and China and the United States, Britain and France, the three other permanent Security Council members.

TURKEY

Bombing strikes commercial district

ANKARA — A bomb exploded yesterday in one of the Turkish capital’s busiest commercial centers, killing five persons and wounding about 80, authorities said.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said four Turks and one Pakistani were killed in the blast, and that authorities were still investigating the type of bomb used.

Private NTV television, quoting police sources, said the bomb was made of plastic explosives, the type favored by separatist Kurdish rebels. Militant leftists and Islamic extremists also operate in Turkey.

PAKISTAN

‘Un-Islamic’ hug prompts resignation

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s minister of tourism has handed in her resignation after coming under criticism from a hard-line Islamist cleric for hugging her parachute instructor after completing a jump in France, an official said yesterday.

Nilofar Bakhtiar, one of three women ministers in the Pakistani Cabinet, made the parachute jump in March to raise money for victims of an earthquake that killed 73,000 people in Pakistan in October 2005.

Shortly afterward, Pakistani newspapers published a photograph of her giving her para-jumping instructor a hug, and a pro-Taliban cleric issued a decree calling on the government to sack her for “obscenity.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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