- The Washington Times - Friday, July 25, 2008

RUSSIA

Plan for nuke base in Cuba denied

MOSCOW | The Russian Defense Ministry has denied a newspaper report that Russia was considering basing nuclear-capable bombers in Cuba, Russian news agencies reported Thursday.

The newspaper Izvestia this week cited an anonymous top air force official as saying the bombers could be based in Cuba as a response to U.S. plans to place elements of a missile-defense system in Eastern European countries.

A State Department spokesman in Washington welcomed the denial.

Soviet nuclear missiles stationed in Cuba during the height of the Cold War pushed the world to the brink of nuclear conflict on Oct. 22, 1962, after President Kennedy announced their presence to the world. After a tense week of diplomacy, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev removed the missiles.

UNITED NATIONS

Ban names rights chief

UNITED NATIONS | U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday named South African judge Navanethem Pillay as the world body’s new human rights chief, succeeding outspoken Canadian Louise Arbour, a U.N. spokeswoman said.

Ms. Pillay, daughter of a bus driver and Harvard graduate, is a judge at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. U.N. diplomats and officials had said the United States had opposed to her appointment due to her positions on abortion and other issues but had ultimately decided not to block her.

As a lawyer in South Africa, Ms. Pillay defended anti-apartheid activists and championed the right of Nelson Mandela and other dissidents to legal assistance.

BRITAIN

Motorsport boss wins suit against tabloid

LONDON | A British judge ruled Thursday that a tabloid newspaper breached motorsport chief Max Mosley’s privacy with a story claiming that a sadomasochistic orgy he took part in had a Nazi theme.

The News of the World faces a legal bill of almost $2 million after the judge ordered it to pay damages and Mr. Mosley’s legal costs, as well as its own.

High Court judge David Eady ruled that Mr. Mosley, president of the governing body that oversees Formula One racing, “had a reasonable expectation of privacy in relation to sexual activities (albeit unconventional) carried on between consenting adults on private property.”

FRANCE

Barracks cut in defense shake-up

PARIS | France announced plans on Thursday to reduce the number of its military sites as part of a shake-up of defense strategy that Paris says will make the armed forces more efficient.

The area hardest hit by the closures was the northeast, which borders Germany, reflecting the shift in defense priorities outlined last month by President Nicolas Sarkozy who wants a smaller, more mobile army.

In total 83 units - a term that includes regiments, logistics centers and air force bases - are due to be shut gradually from 2009 onward, the government announced.

BRITAIN

Thief rides off in Tory leader’s bike

LONDON | British Conservative Party leader David Cameron, known for flitting to and from Parliament on his mountain bike, says his cycle has been stolen.

Mr. Cameron chained the bike to a post while he stopped at a supermarket near his west London home on Wednesday evening. The thief apparently lifted the bike, lock and all, over the top of the post.

Mr. Cameron, who has vowed to cut crime if he becomes prime minister, appealed for anyone who had seen the bike to return it, saying that to him it was “absolutely priceless.”

UKRAINE

Yushchenko blames ex-ally in poisoning

KIEV | Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko said Thursday he thinks a former ally and friend was involved in his near fatal poisoning four years ago.

Mr. Yushchenko at a news conference named David Zhvania, a member of a pro-presidential parliamentary faction and the godfather of one of his children, in a sharp departure from the past when he has refused to identify who he thought was responsible.

Mr. Yushchenko fell gravely ill after attending a dinner with Mr. Zhvania and hosted by two top security officials. Doctors later diagnosed his illness as severe dioxin poisoning that disfigured his face.

Mr. Zhvania could not be reached for comment. Prosecutors said Wednesday they had failed to find any suspects.

EGYPT

Iran TV barred over Sadat film

CAIRO | Egyptian authorities have shut down the Cairo office of an Iranian TV network, a security official said Thursday, as the two nations spar over a film that justifies the killing of former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat by Islamic militants.

Authorities confiscated equipment and shut the office of Al-Alam TV on Monday because it was operating without a license, the security official said.

“Assassination of a Pharaoh” has caused offense in Egypt because it portrays Sadat’s killer in a positive light and the former Egyptian president as a traitor for making peace with Israel.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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