- The Washington Times - Monday, August 30, 2004

RUSSIA

Government favorite elected in Chechnya

GROZNY — The government’s choice for president of war-ravaged Chechnya appeared to be the victor yesterday in an election tainted by charges of fraud and shadowed by last week’s terrorist destruction of two airliners.

Little more than two hours after polls closed, acting Chechen President Sergei Abramov said preliminary results showed Maj. Gen. Alu Alkhanov, the republic’s top police official, had passed the 50 percent mark needed to win, the Interfax news agency reported.

Seven candidates contended to replace the previous Kremlin-backed Chechen president, Akhmad Kadyrov, who was assassinated in May.

AUSTRALIA

October vote due for Iraq war ally

CANBERRA — Prime Minister John Howard will become the first of three allied leaders who conducted the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq to face voters, having announced yesterday that Australians will go to the polls on Oct. 9.

The date comes ahead of the U.S. presidential ballot, on Nov. 2, and British elections early next year.

Mr. Howard, a conservative, declared yesterday that trust will be the dominant issue of the election campaign. But the Labor Party opposition says Mr. Howard misled the nation about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.

IRAN

Iraqi prime minister to visit Tehran

TEHRAN — Iraq’s deputy prime minister visited Tehran yesterday in what appeared to be an attempt at fence-mending ahead of what Iran said was a planned visit by Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi.

Barhem Saleh arrived with the interior and transportation ministers on the first direct flight between Baghdad and Tehran in 25 years. Mr. Saleh was scheduled to meet with Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi.

WEST BANK

Gandhi’s grandson calls for huge march

RAMALLAH — The grandson of Mahatma Gandhi urged Palestinian refugees yesterday to march home from Jordan en masse, even if the Israelis “kill 200” people, to shock the world into taking notice.

Arun Gandhi, whose pacifist grandfather helped end British control over the Indian subcontinent, proposed to the Palestinian parliament a peaceful march of 50,000 refugees across the Jordan River and said lawmakers should lead the way.

“Maybe the Israeli army would shoot and kill several. … They may kill 200 men, women and children. And that would shock the world. The world will get up and say, ‘What is going on?’” he said.

MEXICO

Fugitive ex-president turns up in small city

MEXICO CITY — Nine months after he disappeared under a cloud of corruption charges at home, former Guatemalan President Alfonso Portillo is living and working in the same Mexican city he fled two decades ago to avoid arrest on murder charges, the Associated Press reported.

Mr. Portillo is working for a construction materials distributor, maintaining homes in Mexico City and in Chilpancingo, 130 miles south of the capital, officials said.

Mr. Portillo left office on Jan. 14 and fled to Mexico on a tourist visa a month later after he was implicated in a corruption scandal in Guatemala.

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