- The Washington Times - Friday, February 15, 2008

PHILIPPINES

Officials report plot to kill president

MANILA — Security officials yesterday reported uncovering plots to kill President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and bomb foreign embassies, just as opposition leaders were calling for more protests urging the unpopular leader to resign.

Brig. Gen. Romeo Prestoza, head of the Presidential Security Group, said the al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group and its allies were behind the planned attacks.

Few details were announced, which sparked opposition claims that the government was using scare tactics in hopes of curtailing an anti-Arroyo demonstration today in Manila’s financial district and a Sunday prayer rally involving the Roman Catholic Church and a democracy icon, former President Corazon Aquino.

RUSSIA

Putin plans to stay powerful

MOSCOW — President Vladimir Putin said yesterday he intends to become a powerful and long-serving prime minister after leaving the Kremlin but rejected suggestions that he would dictate orders to his likely successor.

Mr. Putin, giving his last annual press conference before his second term ends in May, said he fully trusted the Kremlin’s candidate for president, First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, and would have no problems working with him.

Mr. Medvedev enjoys blanket coverage on state-controlled press and is widely expected to win a big election victory next month. Mr. Putin, 55, said he and Mr. Medvedev would “divide our responsibilities, and I can assure you that there will be no problem here.”

BRITAIN

Court orders pilot compensation

LONDON — The British government should reconsider its refusal to compensate an Algerian-born pilot wrongly imprisoned on a warrant from the United States, which sought his extradition as a suspect in the September 11 terrorist attacks, a court said yesterday.

The Court of Appeal ruling sharply criticized police and prosecutors’ handling of the case of Lotfi Raissi, who was held for nearly five months in a high-security prison until a British judge refused to order his extradition, saying there was no evidence to link him with terrorism.

CHAD

President declares 15-day emergency

N’DJAMENA — Chad’s president declared a nationwide state of emergency yesterday, telling citizens that tightened controls are needed to restore order after recent rebel attacks.

In a speech broadcast on national radio and television, President Idriss Deby said he signed a decree increasing the government’s powers for 15 days, beginning today, as provided for in Chad’s constitution.

Forces loyal to Mr. Deby battled rebels Feb. 2 and 3 in and around the capital of this former French colony in Central Africa. The Red Cross said more than 160 people were killed and 1,000 wounded in the fighting.

SPAIN

U.N. nuke inspector’s briefcase stolen

BARCELONA — Spanish police said yesterday that they were investigating the theft of a briefcase belonging to an inspector of the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog agency and which may contain classified information.

The theft occurred at Barcelona airport on Aug. 2 as the inspector was about to board a flight to Vienna, Austria, site of the headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency, police said.

Local press said the briefcase may have contained secret information about nuclear energy, as well as the inspector’s passport and personal items such as a cell phone, a camera and a navigating device.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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