- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 1, 2004


Blair plans ID cards after arrests

LONDON — Prime Minister Tony Blair indicated yesterday that Britain would speed up the introduction of compulsory identity cards after the arrest of nine terror suspects this week.

Britain already had been planning to bolster its tough antiterrorism laws, passed in the wake of the September 11 attacks, but Mr. Blair said further measures were needed.

Antiterror police arrested eight Britons in and around London this week and seized a half-ton of ammonium nitrate fertilizer — prime bomb-making material. A ninth man was arrested late yesterday.


Immigration minister quits under a cloud

LONDON — British Immigration Minister Beverley Hughes resigned yesterday after officials exposed lax controls that allowed migrants from Romania and Bulgaria to enter Britain with forged papers.

Prime Minister Tony Blair’s spokesman said Mrs. Hughes, 54, had quit for “unwittingly” misleading Parliament over the affair after days of media and political attacks. Mrs. Hughes was replaced by Des Browne, a junior minister in the Department for Work and Pensions.


Tunisian identified as bombings leader

MADRID — A 35-year-old Tunisian is thought to have led the group suspected in the March 11 railway bombings in Madrid that killed 191 persons, according to the international warrant for his arrest.

Sarhane Ben Abdelmajid Fakhet is one of six persons sought in warrants that a Spanish judge issued Wednesday but made public yesterday.


Islamist militant held with bombs, grenades

KARACHI — Police arrested a suspected Islamist militant with time bombs and hand grenades in Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi, yesterday.

Senior police officials denied news reports that the man, identified as a member of the outlawed Jaish-e-Mohammed group, had been planning to assassinate Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali, who is visiting Karachi.


Thousands protest NATO raid for Karadzic

PALE — Waving Serbian flags, 3,000 protesters denounced NATO yesterday for a predawn raid on a church and rectory in search of war crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic that wounded a priest and his son.

The raid outraged the people who live in Pale, Mr. Karadzic’s stronghold during the 1992-1995 Bosnian war. Within hours, crowds carrying banners reading “Stand proud, Serb people,” and “Nobody will arrest a Serb” lit candles and prayed for the two wounded.


Lawmaker flouts smoking ban

DUBLIN — Ireland’s sweeping new ban on workplace smoking claimed its first casualty yesterday — a high-profile lawmaker who lost his political post after lighting up in the parliamentary bar.

John Deasy, 35, who was supposed to lead the Fine Gael party’s official support for the ban, was punished after smoking at least three cigarettes Tuesday night in the bar beside the debating chamber.

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny said he had no choice but to dismiss Mr. Deasy from his justice post in the shadow Cabinet. He said Mr. Deasy also may face prosecution.

The ban specifies a maximum $3,700 fine for anyone who smokes in an enclosed workplace.

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