- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 13, 2003

GERMANY

Crackdown continues on neo-Nazi terrorists

BERLIN — German authorities arrested three more suspected neo-Nazis believed to be plotting to bomb a groundbreaking ceremony for a Munich synagogue, a prosecutors’ spokeswoman said yesterday.

With the arrests Friday, at least 10 people across Germany have been taken into custody in the last week on suspicion of involvement in a terrorist plot to attack the ceremony.



ITALY

Grannies more popular than beauty queens

ROME — Semiclad young beauty queens have suffered an unprecedented defeat at the hands of fully dressed grandmothers in the Italian television ratings battle, Italian media reported on yesterday.

When beauty pageant “Miss Italia,” a yearly fest of sexy girls in swimsuits, went head-to-head with “Velone,” a dance and comedy contest for ladies over 65 on a rival channel, the grannies came out on top.

Italy

Common warrant proves unpopular

ROME — Only three EU countries are ready to adopt a common arrest warrant, a key anti-terrorism measure the European Union agreed upon nearly two years ago, the EU’s Justice Commissioner Antonio Vitorino said yesterday.

Speaking at the end of a meeting of European justice ministers in Rome, Mr. Vitorino said only Spain, Portugal and Denmark had taken the necessary steps to put the measures in place by the deadline of Jan. 1.

In the wake of the attacks of September 11, 2001, the European Union agreed to speed up arrest and extradition procedures in cases involving 32 serious crimes, including terrorism and drug trafficking.

ESTONIA

EU membership popular in polls

TALLINN — Voters were planning to turn out in large numbers to back ex-Soviet Estonia’s plans for European Union membership on the eve of a key referendum, opinion pollsters said yesterday.

Two main polling institutes, Emor and Faktum, said they predicted between 67 and 78 percent of the electorate to support the “yes” vote.

Weekly notes …

Pope John Paul II struggled midway through a strength-sapping trip yesterday to celebrate Mass for tens of thousands of pilgrims who gathered on a wind-swept hillside in the eastern Slovakia town of Roznava. The 83-year-old pope appeared rested and alert yesterday, but his voice was weak and slurred and his left hand trembled badly. … Madonna, whose mother died when she was 5, always felt friendless and isolated as a school girl, she says in an interview in the Times of London. “It wasn’t until I became successful that I filled up my emptiness,” said the multimillionaire pop icon who embarks on yet another career tomorrow when her first children’s book — “The English Roses” — is released.

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