- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 25, 2008


Army chief set to be tapped as president

BEIRUT — Lebanon’s parliament is set to vote in army chief Gen. Michel Suleiman as the country’s 11th president today, filling a post left vacant for six months by a crisis that threatened a new civil war.

A Qatari-brokered deal between rival Lebanese leaders last week defused 18 months of political stalemate that erupted into street-fighting this month and led to Iranian-backed Hezbollah fighters seizing Beirut and routing government loyalists.

Members of parliament from the U.S.-supported ruling majority and the Hezbollah-led opposition will attend a parliamentary session to elect Gen. Suleiman as president, as stipulated by the Doha agreement.

The deal also calls for the formation of a national-unity government where the opposition has veto power and for a new law for the 2009 general election.


U.N. mission finds more mass graves

KINSHASA — Four mass graves were unearthed yesterday in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo near a site where others containing around 100 bodies had been discovered, the United Nations said.

A U.N. spokesman said seven mass graves have been discovered in the past 24 hours at Maboya. The spokesman said the graves contain the remains of civilian men, women and children and soldiers from various forces that fought for control of Maboya between 1996 and 2003, the last two Congolese civil wars.

Officials did not say how many bodies were found in the graves.


Olmert too weak for deal, Hamas says

TEHRAN — Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is too weak to take the necessary steps for peace with Syria, Hamas’ exiled leader said yesterday during a visit to Iran, the militant group’s ally.

Hamas leader Khalid Mashaal said an ongoing investigation into Mr. Olmert over corruption allegations has raised doubts about his ability to conclude a peace deal with the Palestinians by a year-end target or pursue recently confirmed peace talks with Syria.


Earthquake rocks capital; 3 dead

BOGOTA — A strong earthquake jolted central Colombia yesterday, sending thousands of panicky residents into Bogota’s streets and killing three people, authorities said.

The quake shook this Andean capital for several seconds. State geological agency Ingeominas put the strength of the quake at 5.5 on the open-ended Richter scale.


Dalai Lama slams Beijing ‘propaganda’

LONDON — The Dalai Lama said yesterday he was saddened that Beijing’s state “propaganda” had left many Chinese considering him a “devil with horns.”

On the first of five days of talks and teachings in the central English city of Nottingham, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader said Beijing’s control over information left millions thinking he was a “demon.”

Emotional human values were lacking in modern China, he added.

“Millions of innocent Chinese will have no other way to get information except government propaganda,” he said in a talk at Nottingham Arena.

“If millions feel that the Dalai Lama is a demon, then I feel very sad,” he said. “This is no help to solve the problems.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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