- - Monday, November 5, 2012

RIYADH — King Abdullah on Monday appointed as interior minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, who has led a crackdown on al-Qaeda terrorists and survived a suicide bomb attack claimed by the jihadists.

The monarch removed half-brother Prince Ahmed bin Abdul Aziz from the position “upon his request,” according to a royal decree carried by SPA state news agency.

Prince Mohammed is the son of Prince Nayef, who served as the kingdom’s interior minister for 37 years until he died in June, and was replaced by Prince Ahmed, who was his deputy.

Prince Mohammed is effectively the first second-generation member of the al-Saud dynasty after ailing Prince Saud al-Faisal to hold one of the key ministries that had been confined to the first line of princes.

The new minister, who had served as assistant minister for security affairs since 1999, has effectively led the kingdom’s crackdown on al Qaeda, following a wave of deadly attacks between 2003 and 2006.

He survived a suicide attack in August 2009 when a bomber managed to infiltrate the prince’s security and detonated his implanted explosives next to him.

Prince Mohammed suffered only superficial injuries, but apart from the bomber, who was killed, no other serious casualties were reported.

UNITED KINGDOM

Cameron orders probe into child abuse scandal

LONDON — Prime Minister David Cameron ordered an investigation Monday into newly raised allegations related to a major child abuse scandal in north Wales in the 1970s and 1980s.

Mr. Cameron said he had also asked a Cabinet minister to meet with a victim of child abuse who alleges a senior figure at the time within the Conservative Party was involved in a pedophile ring.

“These actions are truly dreadful and they mustn’t be left hanging in the air,” Mr. Cameron, who now leads the Conservative Party, said in Abu Dhabi during a three-day tour of the Gulf and Middle East.

His announcement comes amid national scrutiny of the alleged sexual abuse of hundreds of young people by Jimmy Savile, the well-known BBC TV host who died last year. Police say that since the complaints against Savile were made public last month, hundreds of people not linked to his case have emerged to report their own allegations of past abuse.

Mr. Cameron said he would appoint an independent figure to lead an investigation aimed at determining if a previous major public inquiry into the north Wales scandal was sufficiently thorough. The Waterhouse Inquiry reported in 2000 on abuse at several Welsh children’s homes, foster homes and other care facilities in the 1970s and 1980s.

In an interview with the BBC’s “Newsnight” program broadcast Friday, abuse victim Steve Messham alleged that the Waterhouse Inquiry had stopped short of examining claims made against a Conservative Party figure. The BBC did not name the political figure, and no one connected at the time to the party has ever faced charges related to the abuse scandal.

EGYPT

Coptic pope urges respect from Islamists

CAIRO — Egypt’s new Coptic pope says the country’s Christian minority has been “intentionally” marginalized for years. He called on the new Islamist president to send reassuring messages after what he called threatening and disrespectful campaigns.

Pope Tawadros II said Egypt’s richness lies in its cultural mix between Muslims and Christians.

He was speaking in an interview aired Monday on a private TV station, a day after he was selected to head the ancient Coptic church. He succeeds charismatic Pope Shenouda III, who died in March after four decades as Coptic leader.

Tawadros said President Mohammed Morsi should give reassurances to Christians after what he called “unacceptable” media and public campaigns.

Christians have become increasingly wary of the rising political power of Islamists, coupled with perceived threats against their freedom of worship.

UKRAINE

Opposition dismisses offer for limited re-vote

KIEV — Ukraine sank deeper into political turmoil Monday following a disputed parliamentary election, with the opposition dismissing a government offer for a re-vote in a handful of districts and pressing instead for ballots to be recounted in more than a dozen precincts across the country.

Western observers deemed the Oct. 28 parliamentary election unfair, saying the imprisonment of President Viktor Yanukovych’s arch-foe, Yulia Tymoshenko, and non-transparent vote tallying were a step back for democracy.

Mrs. Tymoshenko Fatherland party and two other pro-Western opposition parties made a strong showing in the proportional voting that chooses half of parliament’s 450 seats, but they accuse authorities of rigging results in a number of individual races in an attempt to secure a majority for Mr. Yanukovych’s allies.

Hundreds of protesters rallied outside the Central Election Commission building in Kiev late into the evening on Monday, protesting the alleged fraud and demanding an honest vote count.

With final election results still not announced as of Monday, authorities attempted to ease tensions by proposing a new vote in five disputed election districts. But the opposition angrily rejected that offer, saying their candidates had honestly won those races and there was no need hold a repeat vote there.

Instead, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who heads Fatherland while the former premier is in jail, said opposition parties are demanding a recount in 13 districts that they believe they won.

NIGERIA

Police arrest supporters of breakaway Biafra

LAGOS — Police in southeast Nigeria arrested about 100 separatists on Monday as they were marching and waving the flag of the failed breakaway Republic of Biafra.

Police spokesman Ebere Amaraizu said the arrests happened early Monday as unarmed members of the Biafra Zionist Movement marched near Enugu city.

The spokesman said the marchers carried the rising sun flags of the Biafran republic and wore military-style berets and armbands. He said he did not know what charges the men would face.

In 2011, a similar march saw participants face treason charges that were later dismissed.

The Republic of Biafra declared its independence from Nigeria in 1967. That sparked a civil war that killed 1 million people and nearly tore the oil-rich nation apart.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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