- The Washington Times - Monday, January 7, 2008

GAZA STRIP

Troops kill four in refugee camp

GAZA CITY — Israeli troops killed four Palestinians in a raid into the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip yesterday, witnesses said, and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert vowed to step up attacks on militants who fire rockets into Israel.

Palestinian hospital officials said three of the dead in the al-Bureij refugee camp were civilians. The fourth was a Hamas gunman killed in battle with the Israelis, the Islamist faction said.

Militants fired an anti-tank rocket, wounding five Israeli soldiers. The raid, which ended when Israeli forces withdrew at nightfall, also wounded at least 34 Palestinians, including four women, seven children and 15 gunmen.

LEBANON

Power-sharing plan wins broad support

CAIRO — Arab governments yesterday approved an Arab plan to end the constitutional crisis in Lebanon, and diplomatic sources said it had support from both Syria and the Lebanese parliamentary majority.

But members of Hezbollah gave a more cautious response to the plan, which says a national unity government should be formed in such a way that no one party can impose or block any decision.

The plan endorses the choice of army chief Gen. Michel Suleiman as the next president of Lebanon and says he should be the arbiter in any contested decisions.

IRAQ

Suicide bombing mars Army Day

BAGHDAD — Two Iraqi soldiers threw themselves onto a suicide bomber, but the attacker detonated an explosives vest killing both soldiers and another nine persons, the U.S. military and police said.

It was the deadliest of a series of attacks across Baghdad that left as many as 16 persons dead. About two dozen soldiers were in the street celebrating at an Army Day event hosted by a local nongovernmental agency pushing for unity in Iraq. Among the dead were four police officers, three Iraqi soldiers and four civilians, a police officer said.

VENEZUELA

Chavez to scale back revolution plans

CARACAS — President Hugo Chavez vowed yesterday to tackle everyday problems from soaring crime to trash-strewn streets, adopting a more pragmatic approach to governance and toning down his revolutionary rhetoric a month after a stinging electoral defeat.

Last month, voters rejected a radical overhaul of Venezuela’s constitution that would have greatly expanded Mr. Chavez’s powers and enshrined socialism. Mr. Chavez, an ally of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, acknowledged that his government would have to review its priorities.

“I’m forced to reduce the speed of the march,” Mr. Chavez said, urging new members of his Cabinet to “accept reality” and “put their feet on the ground.”

“This will be the year of the three R’s: Revision, rectification and relaunching,” he said.

BANGLADESH

U.S. care sought for former leader

DHAKA — Doctors for former Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed appealed yesterday for her to be allowed to seek medical treatment abroad, shortly after a special court adjourned her trial on extortion charges because she was sick.

Mrs. Hasina, in detention since her arrest in July, fell sick in court on Dec. 31. Her attorneys and doctors said she was suffering from high blood pressure and ear and eye problems. She is charged with extorting about $1 million from two businessmen while in power, but has denied the charge.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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