- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 23, 2007

PAKISTAN

Police arrest political leaders

ISLAMABAD — Police swept the Pakistani capital yesterday to arrest the leaders of opposition parties vowing to obstruct President Pervez Musharraf’s re-election bid, officials said.

A security official said police in Islamabad had orders to take about 35 opposition leaders into preventive custody. A leader of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, an Islamist party opposed to Gen. Musharraf’s alliance with the U.S., said police had detained him at his residence.

Ahsan Iqbal, spokesman for the party of exiled former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, said he had heard of raids on the homes of party leaders but that he didn’t know if anyone had been seized. Mr. Sharif’s party and a coalition of religious parties are spearheading opposition to Gen. Musharraf’s plan to seek a new five-year term in a vote by federal and provincial lawmakers on Oct. 6.

JAPAN

Fukuda likely choice to lead

TOKYO — Japan’s ruling party was poised yesterday to pick Yasuo Fukuda, who seeks warmer ties with Asian neighbors, to succeed Shinzo Abe as prime minister in an effort to revive party fortunes and fill a political vacuum.

The Liberal Democratic Party’s main factions have rallied behind Mr. Fukuda, after Mr. Abe’s Sept. 12 decision to resign, in hopes the 71-year-old lawmaker, seen as a moderate, can bring stability after a year marked by scandals and a parliamentary election rout.

IRAN

Ahmadinejad warns against sanctions

TEHRAN — Threats and economic sanctions will not stop Iran’s technological progress, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned yesterday at a large parade of missiles and other weapons aimed at showing off the country’s military might.

The parade outside the capital, Tehran, marked the 27th anniversary of the Iraqi invasion of Iran that sparked the bloody 1980-88 war. It took place as the U.S. and its European allies continue discussing a third round of U.N. Security Council sanctions against Iran over its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment. It also took place days before the hard-line Iranian president is to address the U.N. General Assembly in New York.

GERMANY

Warrants dropped in rendition case

BERLIN — The German government has dropped its demand to U.S. authorities for the arrest of 13 suspects in the purported CIA-backed abduction of a German citizen, the magazine Der Spiegel says in its latest edition.

A court in the southern German city of Munich had ordered arrest warrants for 13 persons in January in connection with the case of Khaled el-Masri, a Lebanese-born German who said he was abducted by U.S. agents on New Year’s Eve 2003 in the Macedonian capital, Skopje.

GERMANY

China cancels talks over Dalai Lama visit

BERLIN — China has canceled talks with German officials due to take place today, when Chancellor Angela Merkel is scheduled to hold a separate meeting with the Dalai Lama, Germany’s Justice Ministry said yesterday.

A ministry spokeswoman said the Chinese canceled the talks on the rule of law, due to take place in Munich, for “technical reasons.” German Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries had been due to attend.

China protested Mrs. Merkel’s plans to meet the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, summoning the German ambassador in Beijing earlier this month.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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