- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 5, 2003

BELGIUM

10 nations found ready to join in May

BRUSSELS — The European Union’s executive commission gave its final green light yesterday to 10 countries due to enter the bloc next year, saying all would be ready to join on schedule on May 1, 2004.

But in its last report on their progress toward membership, it warned of serious shortcomings in all the states which, unless resolved, will deny them the full benefits of membership.

It reserved its strongest criticism for Poland, the biggest enlargement country, singling out nine areas for urgent action to avoid forfeiting money and market access from Day One.

Other countries scheduled to join the bloc next year are Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Cyprus and Malta.

KYRGYZSTAN

Suspected plot to hit U.S. air base foiled

BISHKEK — Kyrgyz security forces thwarted a plot by Islamic extremists to attack an air base used by U.S.-led troops fighting in Afghanistan, a security official said yesterday.

Three citizens of this Central Asian ex-Soviet republic were detained after homemade weapons, grenades, submachine-gun cartridges and a plan of attack were found in an apartment.

The target of the plot was Manas air base, which is close to the capital and is a launching pad for U.S.-led operations in Afghanistan.

ISRAEL

Yukos shareholder gets citizenship

JERUSALEM — Leonid Nevzlin, a leading shareholder of embattled Russian oil giant Yukos, has arrived in Israel and been granted citizenship in the Jewish state, an Israeli Interior Ministry spokeswoman said yesterday.

The official said Mr. Nevzlin completed his application in person a week ago and received citizenship papers Sunday. Yukos is in a standoff with the Russian government that recently landed former Chief Executive Mikhail Khodorkovsky in jail on fraud and tax-evasion charges.

CANADA

U.S. rapped over deportation

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Jean Chretien criticized the United States yesterday for deporting a Canadian man to Syria last year and said Ottawa had asked Washington to investigate whether Canadian officials played any role in the affair.

Syrian-born Maher Arar, who was released last month, broke his silence Tuesday to say he was regularly tortured during the year he spent in Syria. U.S. authorities said he was a member of al Qaeda and say privately they acted on data supplied by Canadian police.

“I think it is completely unacceptable and deplorable what happened to this gentleman, who is a Canadian, who was sent to Syria rather than … to his country, Canada,” Mr. Chretien told a rowdy session of Parliament.

ITALY

Gadhafi’s son fails doping test

ROME — The son of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi tested positive for a performance-enhancing steroid after a soccer match, the Italian Olympic Committee said yesterday.

Saadi Gadhafi, who recently signed with the Perugia team in the top Italian league, was found to have an excessive amount of norandrosterone in his system. The test result was likely a result of medicine Mr. Gadhafi was given for an injury while being treated in Germany, sources said.


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