- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 19, 2007

IRAN

American reporter allowed to leave

TEHRAN — An Iranian-American reporter who was trapped in Iran for months on suspicion of trying to stir up a revolution was allowed to leave the country yesterday and return to the United States.

Parnaz Azima was one of four Iranian-Americans charged with endangering national security, an accusation they denied. She is the second of the four U.S. citizens allowed to leave in recent weeks.

Unlike the other three Americans, Miss Azima — who works for Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty’s Farsi-language service Radio Farda — was not imprisoned. But authorities confiscated her passport when she arrived in the country in January on a family visit.

CHINA

Typhoon moves close to coast

SHANGHAI — A typhoon expected to be among the most powerful storms to hit China in years churned toward the densely populated coast yesterday with 165 mph wind gusts as the government evacuated 1.8 million people.

The fringes of Typhoon Wipha lashed northern Taiwan, where a construction worker was killed when the storm’s winds knocked down scaffolding.

Authorities ordered schools closed today in Shanghai, a city of more than 20 million and China’s financial hub. By midnight local time, the typhoon appeared to be weakening and looked likely to hit land early today further south of Shanghai than originally forecast, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

PAKISTAN

Musharraf links quitting to election

ISLAMABAD — President Pervez Musharraf will resign as army chief and restore civilian rule if lawmakers re-elect him president in a vote expected by mid-October, officials said yesterday.

The government hailed the decision as a democratic watershed, but the opposition said it would be illegal for Gen. Musharraf to run in uniform and threatened a boycott of the vote that could prolong Pakistan’s political instability.

Government attorney Sharifuddin Pirzada announced Gen. Musharraf’s intent in a statement to Supreme Court judges deliberating the military leader’s eligibility to seek a new five-year term.

NEPAL

Ex-rebels quit government

KATMANDU — Nepal’s one-time rebel army quit the coalition government yesterday, escalating a political crisis that imperiled the Himalayan nation’s fragile peace process.

The former rebels also said they would boycott the election process unless the monarchy was abolished.

While they warned of widespread protests, however, they also gave the interim government some breathing space — saying a nationwide general strike would not begin until Oct. 4-6.

The Maoists spent years fighting for control of the impoverished kingdom and joined the political mainstream after King Gyanendra was forced to give up nearly all his power last year.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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