- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 20, 2003

JAPAN

Koizumi re-elected prime minister

TOKYO — In a postelection formality, Junichiro Koizumi won approval from parliament yesterday to stay on as Japan’s prime minister. But he faces a reinvigorated opposition vowing to challenge him on his increasingly unpopular plan to send troops to Iraq and efforts to rekindle the world’s second-largest economy.

Mr. Koizumi, whose ruling coalition controls a majority in both chambers of parliament, was re-elected in both houses by a comfortable margin. The votes were held in a special session called to select new leaders after nationwide elections earlier this month to fill the 480 seats in the body’s lower house.

GEORGIA

TV chief quits amid protests

TBILISI — A key figure in President Eduard Shevardnadze’s administration resigned yesterday amid a political crisis in which thousands of protesters have called for the Georgian leader to resign.

Zaza Shemdiliya, the head of state radio and television who was seen as the government’s chief ideologue, submitted his resignation after Mr. Shevardnadze criticized the way state television was covering the crisis, saying it had not been supportive enough of the government.

FRANCE

EU Parliament backs stem-cell research

BRUSSELS — The European Parliament urged EU governments yesterday to allow the union’s money to be spent on research with new embryonic stem cells.

The vote was for a nonbinding resolution, but the Parliament’s position is likely to complicate an upcoming meeting of EU government ministers to discuss what to do when a moratorium on EU funding for stem cell research ends Dec. 31.

The EU assembly in Strasbourg, France, voted 300-210 in support of funding of embryonic research from the European Union’s 2002-06 research budget of $17.5 billion.

LEBANON

U.S. revokes visa over remark

BEIRUT — Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt said yesterday that the United States had revoked his visitor’s visa for remarks in which he described a top U.S. defense official as a virus who should be destroyed.

A State Department official said Mr. Jumblatt’s visa had been revoked under the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Mr. Jumblatt described Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz last month as a virus who needed to be destroyed, after the American escaped a guerrilla rocket attack on the fortified Baghdad hotel where he was staying.

SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO

Coalition dissolves ahead of elections

BELGRADE — More than three years after toppling Slobodan Milosevic, Serbia’s Western-backed ruling coalition declared its mission over and dissolved yesterday.

The decision by the 10-party Democratic Opposition of Serbia coalition came amid a surge in popular support for the former president’s nationalists and neo-communists — and deep divisions within the pro-Western bloc.

DOS was wracked by the assassination of its leader, infighting and the defection of some key parties, and the breakup apparently was an attempt to reorganize ahead of Dec. 28 parliamentary elections.


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