Ayatollah’s pardon ends Iran standoff
TEHRAN Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, stepped in to defuse a quarrel between reformist deputies and the hard-line judiciary yesterday, pardoning an imprisoned member of parliament after the speaker threatened a boycott.
Hossein Loghmanian, found guilty of criticizing the judiciary, was sent to Tehran’s notorious Evin prison last month.
Parliament Speaker Mehdi Karroubi declared in an emotional speech yesterday that Mr. Loghmanian’s imprisonment was an act of aggression against the assembly and that he would not chair any sessions until the legislator was freed.
All but 48 members in the 290-seat parliament followed his example and walked out. Some threatened to resign en masse.
It was then that Ayatollah Khamenei, who appoints the judiciary chief and holds all the key reins of power, intervened to avert a potential crisis.
Soldiers, police clash after Philippine rally
JOLO, Philippines Fighting broke out today between soldiers and police supporters of jailed Muslim leader Nur Misuari in his southern Philippines island base, officials said.
Police officers who were former members of Misuari’s Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) guerrilla group attacked a unit of Army Scout Rangers in the commercial center of Jolo, leaving an undetermined number of casualties, security officials said.
The fighting broke out after a rally for a jailed ex-governor yesterday, killing 15 persons, mostly soldiers and police.
Irish candidate elected EU Parliament chief
STRASBOURG, France Irish Liberal Pat Cox was elected president of the European Parliament yesterday following an unexpectedly tough fight from a Scottish challenger with close ties to British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
It was the first time in the Parliament’s 52-year history that a true contest took place to elect the most powerful member of this EU institution. In the past, a candidate won the job through prearranged deals between the parties.
Mr. Cox, a former journalist, won an absolute majority in the third round of balloting with 298 votes against 236 for Scottish socialist David Martin and 33 for Danish nationalist Jens-Peter Bonde.
Three other candidates also had entered the election to replace outgoing French conservative Nicole Fontaine.
Russian independent TV drops tycoon ex-owner
MOSCOW Journalists at Russia’s embattled TV6 station, the only television channel outside Kremlin control, abandoned its tycoon former owner yesterday as they fought to obtain a fresh lease on life as a new company.
Dozens of TV6 journalists joined forces to form a new firm after the station lost a court battle to overturn a closure order last week, a spokeswoman said.
Media Minister Mikhail Lesin said Monday that Moscow would revoke TV6’s broadcast license as soon as a commission was set up to oversee its court-ordered liquidation.
But the new company also called TV6 will not take with it former owner and ex-Kremlin insider Boris Berezovsky, a sharp critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin seen by many as the source of TV6’s problems.
Sri Lanka removes sanctions on rebel areas
PIRAMANALANKULAM, Sri Lanka The Sri Lankan government yesterday lifted 7-year-old economic sanctions on areas held by Tamil Tiger rebels, allowing 30 truckloads of essential goods into northern jungles.
The trucks left Vavuniya, the last government-held town in the north, loaded with sacks of rice, sugar and fertilizer; bags of cement; and barrels of gasoline, kerosene and diesel.
As the trucks traveled through teak forest, hundreds of Tamil civilians, including mothers holding babies, cheered the drivers.