- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 1, 2007

RUSSIA

Kremlin cuts election observers

MOSCOW — The Kremlin warned foreigners yesterday not to interfere in Russia’s parliamentary elections after it sharply reduced the number of Western observers permitted to view the polls, drawing criticism from the United States.

“No country will accept any attempts from abroad to try to influence it. … It’s a matter of sovereignty of the country,” Kremlin deputy spokesman Dmitry Peskov said after Europe’s main democracy watchdog, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, said Moscow had imposed “unprecedented” restrictions on its observation mission to the Dec. 2 elections by inviting a maximum of 70 observers — fewer than a quarter of the number sent for the elections in 2003, and for a shorter period.

BURMA

Monks march again after crackdown

RANGOON — Buddhist monks in Burma staged a protest march yesterday, their first since soldiers crushed a pro-democracy uprising a month ago, as U.N. special envoy Ibrahim Gambari prepared a return visit.

Witnesses said about 200 maroon-robed monks marched through the central town of Pakokku, 370 miles northwest of Rangoon.

The United Nations said Mr. Gambari, who first visited shortly after the army crackdown, would visit Burma, formally known as Myanmar, from Saturday to next Thursday on a second mission to coax the generals into talks with detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

AFGHANISTAN

Villagers flee fighting near Kandahar

ARGHANDAB — Afghan civilians piled belongings onto trucks yesterday and fled two villages infiltrated by hundreds of Taliban militants outside Kandahar, Afghanistan’s second-largest city. U.S., Canadian and Afghan troops had about 250 insurgents surrounded.

The troops killed 50 militants in three days of fighting 15 miles north of Kandahar, police said. Three policemen and one Afghan soldier also died.

The fighters moved into Kandahar province this week, about two weeks after the death of a tribal leader, Mullah Naqib, who had kept Taliban fighters out of his region.

SPAIN

Lawmakers condemnfascist regime

MADRID — Spanish lawmakers passed historic legislation yesterday condemning Gen. Francisco Franco’s coup and nearly 40-year fascist dictatorship, brushing aside complaints from the conservative opposition that the bill would reopen old divides.

The vote in Spain’s Socialist-led lower house formally denounces Gen. Franco’s regime, mandates that local governments fund efforts to unearth mass graves from the 1936-39 civil war, orders the removal of all Franco-era symbols from streets and buildings, and declares “illegitimate” summary military trials that led to the execution or imprisonment of thousands of the general’s enemies.

ITALY

Judge suspends CIA rendition trial

MILAN — An Italian judge yesterday extended the suspension of the abduction trial of 26 Americans charged in a purported CIA operation until the country’s highest court rules on a government challenge that could scuttle the case.

The Constitutional Court’s ruling, expected early next year, also will indicate whether the kidnapping trial will be permitted to publicly air details of the U.S. extraordinary rendition program, which moves terrorism suspects from country to country without public legal proceedings. From wire dispatches and staff reports

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