- The Washington Times - Friday, August 27, 2004


Troops to stay despite execution

ROME — Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi vowed Italian troops would not leave Iraq and condemned the reported killing of an Italian hostage as an act that brings “us back to the dark ages of barbarity.”

Late Thursday, the Arabic TV network Al Jazeera reported it had received a video that appeared to show the killing of Enzo Baldoni, a 56-year-old freelance journalist.

“We will be faithful to the commitments taken with the Iraqi provisional government in the framework of U.N. decisions to give back peace and democracy to Iraq,” Mr. Berlusconi said.


Talking toilets to nag smokers

AMSTERDAM — Amsterdam residents can now make use of talking toilets that expound on the perils of smoking or the futility of war and berate them on hygiene.

The first such toilets, fitted with sensors to detect what visitors do and to pass comment if appropriate, were installed in a central Amsterdam cafe Thursday.

The toilets can cough and warn smokers of the dangers of cigarettes.


Zimbabwean court convicts coup plotter

HARARE, Zimbabwe — A court in Zimbabwe yesterday convicted the British leader of a suspected coup plot against the government of oil-rich Equatorial Guinea on weapons charges, but acquitted most of the 69 other men held with him.

Former British special forces officer Simon Mann was found guilty of seeking to possess dangerous weapons and could face up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced Sept. 10. Sixty-six other defendants were found not guilty.

Mann is a friend of Mark Thatcher, the son of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Mr. Thatcher was arrested in South Africa this week and charged with involvement in the coup plot.


Leader’s wife reportedly dead

SEOUL — A flurry of recent reports about North Korean “dear leader” Kim Jong-il’s mistress has rekindled interest in many mysteries about this “royal family” and who would be the next leader of the hermit kingdom.

South Korean news reports say Ko Yong-hi, who is believed to be Mr. Kim’s current wife, died recently after a long battle with breast cancer.

Chosun Ilbo, South Korea’s largest newspaper, said that Mrs. Ko apparently succumbed to her long illness after returning home from Paris earlier this year, where she was treated for cancer.


Protesters want to work in Iraq

MANILA — Riot police used water cannons yesterday to disperse protesters demanding that the Philippines lift its ban on allowing its citizens to go to war-ravaged Iraq for jobs.

The protesters marched to the presidential palace to urge President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to let them leave for Iraq, where they said U.S. military contracts await them.

The ban was imposed last month after a Filipino truck driver, Angelo dela Cruz, was abducted by Iraqi insurgents. He was freed after Manila pulled out its troops.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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