- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 9, 2003

GERMANY

Schroeder scraps Italian vacation

BERLIN — Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder yesterday scrapped a planned vacation in Italy after a series of diplomatic spats with Rome, opting to rest at home in Germany instead. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s laconic response: “I’m sorry for him.”

Mr. Schroeder’s decision to ditch a trip to the Marche region next week followed an Italian official’s assertion that German tourists were “stereotyped blonds with a hyper-nationalist pride.”

LAOS

2 European journalists, U.S. interpreter freed

BANGKOK, Thailand — Laos, under international pressure, yesterday freed two European journalists and an American interpreter who had been sentenced to prison for the death of a rural guard.

European and U.S. diplomats had sought the release of French cameraman Vincent Reynaud, Belgian photojournalist Thierry Falise and the Rev. Naw Karl Mua of St. Paul, Minn., who had traveled to the Southeast Asian nation to cover Hmong rebels.

A Laotian court convicted them June 30 of obstructing police work and of weapons possession, and sentenced them to 15 years in prison.

IRAN

Arrests, clash mark 1999 raid anniversary

TEHRAN — Faced by swarms of police and right-wing vigilantes, students canceled plans to hold a protest yesterday to mark the anniversary of a 1999 raid on a hostel that killed one person and sparked nationwide antigovernment protests.

Hundreds of police officers and security forces surrounded Tehran University as dozens of vigilantes gathered in the street. Police detained three student leaders at gunpoint as they emerged from a building housing Iran’s biggest pro-reform student group.

Meanwhile, the visiting head of the United Nations’ nuclear agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, pressed Iranian leaders to allow unfettered inspections of the nation’s nuclear sites.

BELGIUM

EU guidelines proposed for stem-cell research

BRUSSELS — The European Union head office proposed guidelines yesterday for funding research on embryonic stem cells, setting the stage for a showdown with countries that oppose such work on moral grounds.

The proposal adopted by the European Commission would allow researchers to spend EU money to harvest new stem cells from frozen human embryos.

Under the proposal, the European Union would not fund human embryonic stem-cell research in any country where it is forbidden. The 15 EU nations ultimately must approve the rules.

DENMARK

Troops in Iraq get snowplows, lawn mowers

COPENHAGEN — Danish troops in Iraq, who have groaned about vehicles with no air conditioning in the sweltering heat of the desert and about bulletproof vests in wrong sizes, were astonished to find snowplows, lawn mowers and even salt for icy roads in a supply shipment.

The 380-soldier contingent stationed in southern Iraq also complained of not receiving stakes for tents nor morphine for the medical service, said a report in the Ekstra Bladet tabloid.


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