- The Washington Times - Monday, February 9, 2009

PAKISTAN

Taliban video shows beheading

PESHAWAR | Pakistani Taliban militants released a graphic video Sunday showing the beheading of a Polish engineer, whom they said was killed because Islamabad refused to free detained insurgents.

The tape, seen by an Agence France-Presse correspondent here, was released one day after a spokesman for Pakistan’s umbrella Taliban group said its men had decapitated Piotr Stanczak, who was seized in the volatile northwest Sept. 28.

Pakistan has seen kidnappings of foreign nationals in recent months, many of them in the northwest, where Taliban and al Qaeda militants have been holed up since the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001.

Authorities in Islamabad also are searching for an American U.N. worker abducted a week ago in the southwestern city of Quetta. A shadowy ethnic-Baluch rebel group has claimed responsibility for that kidnapping.

ARGENTINA

Seminary ousts Holocaust skeptic

BUENOS AIRES | An ultra-traditionalist Roman Catholic bishop who has drawn criticism from the Vatican and Jewish groups for denying the extent of the Holocaust has been removed as the head of an Argentine seminary, a Catholic Church official said Sunday.

Pope Benedict XVI angered Jewish leaders and liberal Catholics last month when he lifted excommunications on the bishop, Richard Williamson, and three other traditionalists to try to heal a 20-year-old schism within the church.

The Vatican has since ordered the bishop to publicly recant his views, but Bishop Williamson recently told German media he must first review historical evidence before considering an apology.

In a statement, Father Christian Bouchacourt, the head of the Latin American chapter of the Catholic Society St. Pius X, said Bishop Williamson had been relieved of duty as the head of the La Reja seminary on the outskirts of the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires.

MADAGASCAR

Warrants issued after violent protests

ANTANANARIVO | Authorities in Madagascar issued arrest warrants for those held responsible for political violence, a Cabinet minister said Sunday, a day after security forces killed at least 25 people during anti-government protests.

In a radio address, Minister for Internal Security Desire Rasolofomanana said the warrants were for “those responsible for the unrest and looting.” He did not say who was named in the warrants or how many had been issued.

Repeated attempts to reach Mr. Rasolofomanana by phone went unanswered.

The violence has been sparked by opposition leader Andry Rajoelina’s challenge of President Marc Ravalomanana.

ITALY

Dalai Lama to be honorary citizen

ROME | Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama arrived Sunday in Rome to be made honorary citizen of the Italian capital, said airport news agency Telenews.

On Monday morning, a group of 120 Italian senators and deputies will meet with the Dalai Lama, who is set to receive the title during an afternoon ceremony.

The Buddhist spiritual leader was scheduled to travel to Rome last fall to receive the title, but had to postpone the visit because ofhealth problems.

The Dalai Lama, 73, who lives in exile in the Indian town of Dharamsala, was admitted to a New Delhi hospital in October for keyhole surgery to remove stones from his gallbladder.

GERMANY

Gorbachev cites successful unification

BERLIN | Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev praised Germany for its reunification Sunday, nearly two decades after the Berlin Wall was opened between the country’s former east and west.

“We should congratulate the Germans for having taken the opportunity that was offered to them,” Mr. Gorbachev said during a news conference at the Cinema for Peace Foundation in Berlin.

“It was not just Berlin that was divided; the world was divided,” he said.

The Berlin Wall separated then-East Germany from West Germany for more than a quarter of a century, until it was opened in November 1989.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide