- The Washington Times - Monday, June 25, 2001

Elections test Albanias democracy

TIRANA, Albania — Gunfire broke out at one polling station and assailants burned ballots at another, marring parliamentary elections yesterday that pitted Albania´s incumbent socialists against a center-right coalition led by firebrand former President Sali Berisha.

The violence, which came despite appeals for calm from international officials, reflected the political tensions that have accompanied Albanian elections since the end of communist rule in 1992 and the intense rivalry between the two main political forces.

A shooting outside a police place in the capital, Tirana, left two people wounded, including a member of Mr. Berisha´s opposition Unity for Victory coalition, Gjergj Bushgjoka, who was shot in the leg, the Interior Ministry said. Another person was grazed in the head by a bullet.

Taliban ask U.N. to vacate premises

KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghanistan´s Taliban rulers have ordered the U.N. mission in the crisis-ridden country out of its Kabul offices, saying the world body failed to renew its contract and has not paid rent.

A Taliban Foreign Ministry official said yesterday the ruling militia gave notice to the U.N. Special Mission to Afghanistan six months ago that it needed to sign a new agreement.

"But they did not respond to it, forcing us to order them to vacate the premises by Monday," Usman Shaharyar said.

The mission issued no official comment yesterday.

Pakistani president consults Kashmiris

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — President Pervez Musharraf has invited Kashmiri leaders for consultations on his upcoming summit with Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, officials said yesterday.

Mr. Musharraf has invited Pakistan-based Kashmiri leaders and representatives of the All-Party Hurriyat Conference, an umbrella organization waging a separatist drive in the Indian-controlled part of the Himalayan state, they said.

The meeting will be Thursday in Islamabad.

Koizumi´s luster lures voters to party

TOKYO — Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi lured jaded urban voters back to his conservative ruling party yesterday in a Tokyo municipal election that is being eyed for clues to a national poll in July.

Public broadcaster NHK said the long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) got 53 seats in the 127-member Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly. That was better than its target of 50 and up from the 48 it had before the election.

"The Koizumi government has restored confidence in the LDP," LDP Secretary-General Taku Yamasaki told NHK.

Turkey, Pyongyang to forge diplomatic ties

KUSADASI, Turkey — Turkey will soon establish diplomatic relations with North Korea, taking the lead from a new EU strategy toward the communist state, sources close to Foreign Minister Ismail Cem said yesterday.

Diplomatic ties could be "established very soon, maybe next week," following a meeting of the 15-member EU in which EU relations with North Korea are due to be discussed, the sources told reporters.

Turkey is not an EU member but a candidate country, and its ties with the body are governed by an accord of association.

Yvonne Dionne dies of cancer at 67

TORONTO — Yvonne Dionne, one of the Dionne quintuplets, who were the first to survive infancy and who were put on display in Depression-era Canada, died in Montreal Saturday after a battle with cancer.

Miss Dionne, 67, and her four sisters survived a premature birth in 1934 only to be taken from their family by the Ontario government and put on public display in a specially built hospital.

In 1998, the three surviving quints were awarded $2.6 million in compensation from the Ontario government.

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