- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 3, 2008

ISRAEL

Olmert reassures Abbas on talks

JERUSALEM | Prime Minister Ehud Olmert sought to assure Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday that peace talks would not be affected by a corruption scandal that could force the Israeli leader from office.

“This process will continue,” Olmert spokesman Mark Regev said after the two leaders met in Jerusalem, adding that Mr. Olmert recommitted during the meeting to try to reach a deal on Palestinian statehood by the end of the year.

Mr. Olmert has rebuffed calls that he leave office over allegations that he took envelopes stuffed with cash from a Jewish-American businessman.

BRITAIN

Terror suspects held in ships, group says

LONDON | A British human rights organization said Monday that the United States had used military ships to secretly detain and interrogate terrorism suspects. U.S. officials denied using ships as prisons.

The group Reprieve said high-profile detainees including American-born Taliban soldier John Walker Lindh and Australian Taliban supporter David Hicks were imprisoned on the vessels. Reprieve said the United States has used ships stationed off the Somali coast and the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia to detain suspects.

The U.S. Navy said ships have been used to hold a small number of prisoners for short periods, but it denied that vessels were used as long-term floating prisons.

AUSTRALIA

Rudd warns against repeat of Iraq

CANBERRA | Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said Monday that his country invaded Iraq based on an “abuse of intelligence” and that the decision to part ways with the U.S. by withdrawing troops had caused him “great pain.”

Mr. Rudd told Parliament that Australia must learn from the mistakes of former leader John Howard, who sent 2,000 troops to support U.S. and British forces in the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Mr. Rudd will welcome troops home at a parade in the eastern coast city of Brisbane on June 28.

GERMANY

Wax museum to add Hitler

BERLIN | Plans to include an Adolf Hitler figure in the new Berlin branch of Madame Tussauds wax museum are being condemned by people who say that displaying the dictator is tasteless and could attract neo-Nazis.

Madame Tussauds, which is due to open its Berlin museum next month, argues that Hitler is part of German history and deserves a place in the exhibition near the Brandenburg Gate.

Hitler would be portrayed as a broken man in a dark, bunkerlike setting, with panels providing explanations on the dictator, a museum official said, adding that a figure of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill would be shown in the same room.

DJIBOUTI

Somalia seeks deal at U.N.-led talks

DJIBOUTI | Somalia’s government said it hoped for a peace agreement with the opposition at U.N. talks that began Monday, but the opposition said the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops from Somalia would have to be settled first.

At least 6,500 people were killed last year and more than 1 million Somalis displaced by fighting between Islamist insurgents and Ethiopian-backed government troops. The Security Council meetings are in Djibouti because near-daily attacks in Somalia make it too dangerous to meet there.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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