- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 16, 2003

PORTUGAL

Reporter freed after Iraq abduction

LISBON — A Portuguese journalist abducted by gunmen in southern Iraq was released yesterday after 36 hours of being held, sometimes in the trunk of a car.

Carlos Raleiras, a journalist with Lisbon-based radio TSF, told the station by mobile phone he was set free at a roadside.

Mr. Raleiras was abducted Friday when a convoy of Portuguese journalists was attacked by gunmen shortly after entering Iraq from Kuwait.

IRAN

Official warns U.S. against nuke censure

VIENNA, Austria — Iran’s chief delegate to the U.N. atomic agency said yesterday the United States will fail in its attempt to take his country before the Security Council to face possible sanctions for suspect nuclear activities.

Ali Akbar Salehi told the Associated Press that any Security Council involvement “could lead to consequences that none of us would like to witness.”

Diplomats fear harsh actions against Tehran could backfire, leading it to renege on promises of cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency and again draw the curtain on Iran’s nuclear agenda.

BRITAIN

Polluted U.S. ships to dock for winter

LONDON — Two more condemned U.S. Navy ships will be allowed to dock in Britain for the winter despite environmentalists’ concerns they contain toxic materials because it is too risky to send them back to America, the government said yesterday.

The ships, Canopus and Compass Island, are currently crossing the Atlantic and will join two other rusting vessels, Caloosahatchee and Canisteo, at the Able U.K. Ltd. shipyard in Hartlepool, northeast England.

Able U.K. won a contract to dismantle 13 ships that contain tons of asbestos, PCBs and other toxins from the U.S. reserve fleet moored on the James River in Virginia.

CZECH REPUBLIC

Police raid recovers radioactive material

PRAGUE — Czech police arrested two Slovak nationals who attempted to sell nearly 7 pounds of radioactive material to undercover officers working a sting operation, officials said yesterday.

The potential uses of the substance remained unclear pending an investigation, but an expert said initial tests revealed two components that could possibly be used in a dirty bomb.

The suspects were arrested Friday in the Voronez Hotel in the city of Brno, 125 miles southeast of Prague, police spokeswoman Blanka Kosinova said in a statement.

ISRAEL

Militants hint at bombing halt

JERUSALEM — Amid efforts to revive peace talks, Islamic militant groups have shown a willingness to respect a Palestinian cease-fire with Israel, a Palestinian official said yesterday.

Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath said militant factions, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, were open to the idea of a cease-fire as long as it came with Israeli assurances that it would halt military operations in the West Bank and Gaza.

NEPAL

Rebel bomb kills general

KATMANDU — A roadside bomb, believed to have been planted by Nepalese rebels, killed a brigadier general and three soldiers yesterday, the defense ministry said.

Brig. Gen. Sagar Pandey is the highest army officer to be killed by the rebels who have been fighting since 1996 to end the monarchy in this Himalayan kingdom.

Gen. Pandey and three soldiers riding in the same vehicle were killed near Bhaise, a town about 100 miles west of Katmandu, the ministry said. It gave no further details.

KUWAIT

U.S. soldiers face trial for abuse

KUWAIT CITY — Three American soldiers refused to plead yesterday to charges of abusing Iraqi prisoners of war, and will face separate courts-martial in January, a military spokesman said.

“All three deferred to plea,” Maj. Victor Harris told the Associated Press. “They will do it at the trial.”

The charges grew out of an incident May 12 at a U.S. detention facility, Camp Bucca, in southern Iraq. The three soldiers, from the 320th Military Police Battalion, based in Ashley, Pa., are accused of punching and kicking Iraqi POWs while escorting them to Camp Bucca.

The soldiers have said they acted in self-defense.


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