- The Washington Times - Friday, May 1, 2009

NETHERLANDS

Man targets royals; 5 spectators die

APELDOORN | A Dutchman deliberately raced his car toward an open bus carrying Queen Beatrix and her family at a parade Thursday, killing five spectators and injuring 13 as he plowed through a crowd.

The small black car driven by the 38-year-old Dutchman missed the bus by 4 or 5 yards before slamming at a high speed into a stone monument in central Apeldoorn, about 56 miles east of Amsterdam.

Members of the royal family looked on in horror as the black Suzuki hurtled past, and the popular queen appeared visibly shaken when she later appeared on television on the Queen’s Day national holiday.

Public prosecutor Ludo Goossens told a news conference the attacker, who was taken into custody and was in a critical condition in hospital, told police that his actions were directed against the royal family.

ITALY

Cruise ship hijacker freed

ROME | One of the Palestinians who hijacked the Achille Lauro cruise ship and killed an American passenger in 1985 has been released after more than 23 years in jail, officials said Thursday.

Youssef Magied al-Molqui left prison in Palermo, Sicily, on Wednesday and was transferred to a holding center for immigrants in nearby Trapani while officials work to expel him, police in the Sicilian capital said.

Mr. al-Molqui, a member of the four-man team that hijacked the Achille Lauro off the Egyptian coast, had been serving a 30-year sentence, which was reduced for good behavior.

He was convicted of shooting elderly New Yorker Leon Klinghoffer and ordering him to be dumped overboard.

NATO

Russian envoys kicked out

BRUSSELS | A day after NATO and Russia closed their diplomatic rift over last year’s war in Georgia, the alliance kicked out two Russian diplomats in apparent retaliation for a spy case that rekindled memories of the Cold War.

Two Russian diplomats - senior counselor Victor Kochukov and Vasily Chizhov, a junior attache - will lose their accreditation to NATO’s headquarters in Brussels, where Russia maintains a permanent mission, Russian Ambassador Dmitry Rogozin said.

It was not immediately clear how NATO’s move would impact relations with Russia, which have improved significantly since President Obama eased the Bush administration’s confrontational stance toward the country. But relations remain prickly over issues such as Georgia and a proposed missile defense system.

Russia has complained bitterly about NATO’s plan to hold a peacekeeping exercise next month in Georgia. But NATO says Russian officers were invited to take part.

MADAGASCAR

Junta arrests aide to ousted leader

ANTANANARIVO | A top aide to Madagascar’s ousted president has been taken away by soldiers in the latest move against those who oppose the troubled nation’s new leader.

With the military’s help, Andry Rajoelina managed to topple President Marc Ravalomanana in March, but that did not end the struggle for power that has meant months of violence and volatility on the Indian Ocean island.

Madagascar’s neighbors and Western powers refuse to recognize Mr. Rajoelina’s regime, and Mr. Ravalomanana has declared from exile in South Africa that he will return to govern.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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