Ruling party backs Iraq deployment
SEOUL — South Korea’s ruling party yesterday backed government plans to send 3,600 soldiers to northern Iraq, overcoming resistance from some members who had demanded that the long-delayed dispatch be reconsidered.
The decision was made in a meeting of Uri Party leaders after President Roh Moo-hyun appealed to them for cooperation. The National Security Council was expected to meet this week to decide details of the deployment, and South Korea reportedly plans to send the troops to Irbil, in northern Iraq, this summer.
The deployment would make South Korea the largest coalition partner after the United States and Britain.
Kidnappers free Turk, Egyptian
BAGHDAD — Two truck drivers — a Turk and an Egyptian — were released to an Iraqi journalist yesterday, weeks after being kidnapped near the restive city of Fallujah.
Bulent Yanik of Turkey and Victor Tawfiq Gerges of Egypt were taken hostage earlier this month while hauling supplies from Kuwait to Iraq for the U.S.-run coalition.
The two were handed over to the head of a Turkish news agency in Baghdad near Fallujah, about 40 miles west of the capital, Baghdad.
Gunmen kill chief of U.S. energy firm
SANTO DOMINGO — An American executive at a U.S. energy company in the Dominican Republic was fatally shot yesterday afternoon in a coastal town, officials said.
The 55-year-old worked as the general manager at a power plant in San Pedro de Macoris, about 50 miles east of the capital, Santo Domingo, operated by Charlotte, N.C.-based Cogentrix Energy Inc.
Pedophilia case ends with guilty verdicts
ARLON — A sensational trial into a series of abductions, rapes and murders of young girls that rocked Belgium’s legal system ended yesterday with guilty verdicts against a convicted pedophile who was out on parole at the start of the spree.
The jury convicted Marc Dutroux, a 47-year-old unemployed electrician, of abducting, imprisoning and raping six girls in 1995 and 1996.
He also was found guilty of murdering two of the girls, 17-year-old An Marchal and 19-year-old Eefje Lambrecks, and an accomplice, Bernard Weinstein.
Torture probe by U.N. delayed
BEIJING — China has delayed a visit by the United Nations investigator into torture, saying it needs more time to prepare for the two-week mission despite more than a decade of discussions on the trip to review prison policies.
The decision drew fire from at least one human rights group, which said the new postponement raised questions about the Chinese government’s sincerity in addressing the issue.
Theo van Boven, the United Nations special rapporteur on torture, issued a statement seen in Beijing yesterday saying he regretted the postponement of the trip, originally scheduled to start at the end of the month.
From wire dispatches and staff reports