- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 30, 2004

IRAQ

Ex-attorney general to defend Saddam

AMMAN, Jordan — Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, who cultivated close ties with Saddam Hussein in the 1990s, said yesterday that he was joining the legal team defending the former Iraqi dictator against war-crimes charges.

Mr. Clark also said American and Iraqi authorities were limiting access to Saddam.

The veteran peace activist, who first met Saddam before the 1991 Persian Gulf war, was among the last Westerners to see him — just weeks before the U.S.-led invasion in March last year.

INDIA

Envoy notes quick help to neighbors

India’s ambassador to the United States, Ronen Sen, said yesterday that his nation was able to send aid workers with food, water and medicine to neighboring Maldives and Sri Lanka almost immediately after the Sunday tsunami disaster.

“We sent people who could get to work right away,” Mr. Sen said.

He said India, which has held joint naval training exercises with the United States, will work closely with the U.S. Navy to aid hundreds of thousands of people affected by the disaster.

The United States, India, Australia and Japan yesterday formed a coalition to coordinate relief efforts for 12 nations hit by the tsunami.

WEST BANK

Abbas condemns Israeli barrier

TULKAREM — Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas condemned Israel’s West Bank barrier during campaign stops yesterday at towns fenced in by the concrete slabs and urged Israel to remove the massive structure.

Mr. Abbas, the front-runner in the election next month to choose a new Palestinian Authority president, has hit the campaign trail this week, addressing large audiences in the West Bank towns of Jericho and Tulkarem.

For a second day, Mr. Abbas received a warm welcome, injecting some energy into the low-key politician’s campaign to succeed Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat, who died Nov. 11.

ITALY

Teen’s Simpson site helps tsunami victims

ROME — An Internet site set up by an Italian schoolboy that had been dedicated to “The Simpsons” is helping people track down loved ones missing since the tsunami disaster.

Valerio Natale, 14, says two missing Italian vacationers — Dario Collodi and Liliana Giordanino — have been found thanks to postings on his Web page www.tuttosimpsons.altervista.org/index.htm.

The site is devoted almost entirely to Italian citizens who disappeared in Thailand, Sri Lanka, the Maldives and India when the tsunami hit Sunday, killing tens of thousands.

CANADA

Move dims Queen’s star

OTTAWA — Canada is stripping away one of the last vestiges of British Colonial rule.

Prime Minister Paul Martin said yesterday that Canadian ambassadors abroad and foreign envoys to Canada no longer would mention Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, who also is Canada’s head of state, in letters of credential and recall.

From now on, such letters will be approved by or addressed to Canada’s governor general — the queen’s top representative in Canada, a post currently held by Adrienne Clarkson, a Hong Kong-born Canadian.

The queen is largely a figurehead here, and her presence is mostly confined to her image on currency and other ceremonial symbols.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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