Iraqis say 80 Kuwaitis held in secret prison
CAIRO Two men who worked for Iraqi intelligence before defecting to the West have reported seeing 80 Kuwaiti men in a secret prison near Baghdad as recently as last year, almost a decade after they were captured during the Gulf war, an Iraqi opposition group said yesterday.
The London-based Iraqi National Congress, which is campaigning for the overthrow of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, said in a statement that the defectors saw the Kuwaiti men at the Iraqi intelligence camp at Salman Pak, some 19 miles south of Baghdad. Few details on the defectors, including their current whereabouts, were released.
The dissident group, in a statement faxed from London to the Associated Press, quoted the unidentified defectors as saying they worked at the prison from 1995 until 2000, guarding the Kuwaiti prisoners.
The dissident group said the guards were not supposed to know the prisoners’ names, but managed to learn some.
The congress did not release the names, but said they were confirmed by Kuwaiti sources as being among those listed as missing by Kuwait’s government after the country’s liberation from Iraqi invaders by a U.S.-led alliance in February 1991.
Germany’s Schroeder threatens to quit
BERLIN German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder threatened to resign and break up the ruling Social Democratic-Green coalition if it did not back him in a vote on troop mobilization for the U.S.-led Afghan campaign, a coalition source said yesterday.
Mr. Schroeder told a meeting of top Social Democrats earlier that if his “red-green” coalition did not support a parliamentary vote Thursday to deploy up to 3,900 German soldiers in the Afghan campaign, he would be forced to quit the government.
“Then someone else will have to do it,” the source quoted Mr. Schroeder as saying.
The dispute highlighted how difficult it was for Germany to see itself as a military power 56 years after World War II ended.
10 countries on track for EU membership
BRUSSELS Ten countries from the former communist bloc and the Mediterranean will be told today that they are on track to join the European Union by 2004, EU sources said yesterday.
Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Cyprus and Malta will receive the upbeat assessment of their EU membership preparations in annual reports to be published by the European Commission in Strasbourg, France.
The news will be less optimistic for two other candidate countries, Romania and Bulgaria.
More impoverished than the others, they will be told that they are lagging too far behind in their preparations to join in the EU’s first expansion wave.
Turkey’s hopes of joining the 12 countries already in membership talks also will be dashed, sources said.
Ankara will be told that it must improve the quality of its political reforms and help find a solution to the divided island of Cyprus before it can join negotiations.
No winner emerges in Bulgarian election
SOFIA, Bulgaria No winner emerged from Sunday’s presidential election, and results of vote-counting from pollsters showed that incumbent President Petar Stoyanov would face Socialist Party leader Georgi Parvanov in a Nov. 18 runoff.
A computer failure yesterday slowed the official count. The delay was less painful for Mr. Parvanov, who had consolidated his left electorate in the run-up to the first round, but might be a blow to Mr. Stoyanov, many of whose potential supporters didn’t vote.
Turnout was the lowest in Bulgaria’s history, with some 39 percent of the more than 6 million eligible voters taking part.
Brazilian doctor faces pornography charges
BRASILIA, Brazil Brazilian police arrested a doctor purportedly in the act of publishing child pornography on the Internet and were investigating him for links to an international pedophile ring, police said yesterday.
Police said they caught Dr. Rodrigo Barbosa Villaca, a gastroenterologist, feeding Web sites with photographs from a computer at a Brasilia hospital where he was on weekend call.
“He was sending pornographic photos of children, adolescents and even young babies,” Adalton de Almeida Martins, a federal police officer, told reporters.
Officer Martins said police were investigating whether any of the approximately 100 photos stored on seven computer disks and found at Dr. Villaca’s home were shot in the Hospital de Base, where he worked.