- The Washington Times - Friday, July 5, 2002

Pinochet quits Senate after court verdict
SANTIAGO, Chile Chile's ex-dictator, Augusto Pinochet, resigned yesterday as lifetime senator, a post he held despite a four-year absence from Congress while fighting a series of legal battles against human rights charges.
Gen. Pinochet, 86, submitted a letter of resignation to the Senate via a Catholic Church intermediary just three days after the Supreme Court confirmed, in a final verdict, that he was mentally unfit to stand trial for deaths and disappearances under his iron-fisted rule between 1973 and 1990.
Gen. Pinochet wrote the lifetime Senate seat for ex-presidents into his 1980 constitution and assumed the post in 1998 when he resigned as army chief. However, he served as senator for only a few months because he was arrested in October of that same year in London on an extradition warrant from Spain to face torture charges.
He was released 17 months later on grounds of poor health.

Plane crash kills 23 in central Africa
BANGUI, Central African Republic A cargo plane crashed in a sparsely populated residential area of this city yesterday, killing 23 persons, officials said.
The Boeing 707 was carrying onions and garlic from N'Djamena in Chad to Brazzaville in the Republic of Congo when it experienced technical problems and tried to land here, officials at the regional air authority said.
Of the 25 persons on board, only two survived, they said. The plane exploded when it came down in the Guitangola neighborhood, scattering wreckage and causing the roof of an empty house to collapse, witnesses said.

Pakistani government pays gang-rape victim
MUZAFFARGARH, Pakistan A teen-age victim of a purported gang rape ordered by a Pakistani village jury was handed a check from the government yesterday.
Mai Mukhtiar, 18, purportedly was raped by four men inside a farmhouse in a punishment ordered by a village jury, or panchayat, in a remote part of Punjab province.
Women's Development Minister Attiya Inayatullah gave Miss Mukhtiar a check for $8,200 on the eve of a Supreme Court hearing on the affair.
"I would have committed suicide if the government had not come to my help," the victim said.
Newspapers said the rape was ordered as punishment for a love affair between the girl's brother and a girl from a high-caste tribe.

British, Irish leaders discuss Ulster violence
HILLSBOROUGH, Northern Ireland British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his Irish counterpart, Bertie Ahern, held talks with Northern Ireland's political leaders yesterday amid fears that rising street violence could damage the British province's peace process.
The two leaders met representatives of parties supporting the landmark 1998 Good Friday peace deal at Hillsborough Castle, south of Belfast.
Sources close to the talks said they would give the province's political leaders a chance to express concern about some of the worst violence since the deal between majority Protestants, who want to retain links to Britain, and minority Catholics, who favor Irish unity.

Italian Senate passes conflict-of-interest bill
ROME Angry scenes forced the speaker of Italy's Senate to suspend debate yesterday before the chamber approved a conflict-of-interest bill put forward by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's government.
Lawmakers voted 143-110 in favor of the bill, intended to resolve the problem of Mr. Berlusconi running the country while also being its wealthiest citizen and controlling half of its broadcasting network.
Opposition senators say the bill is a fig leaf for the prime minister, enabling him to hold on to his $10 billion business empire.

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