Wednesday, May 26, 2004


Army to stop using civilian interrogators

The Interior Department has blocked the Army from hiring new civilian interrogators in Iraq while it investigates whether a past contract was awarded properly, a department spokesman said yesterday.

At least one civilian interrogator working under that contract has been accused of taking part in abusing prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad.

The Army hired interrogators from CACI International Inc. starting in August through a “blanket purchase agreement” overseen by the Interior Department. That agreement was to provide information-technology services, Interior spokesman Frank Quimby said.

Interior’s inspector general is investigating whether it was proper to hire interrogators under an information-technology contract, Mr. Quimby told reporters yesterday.


Schroeder strikes deal to regulate security

BERLIN — Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder struck a breakthrough agreement with opposition leaders yesterday on a radical set of measures to regulate immigration and close the net on extremists living in Germany.

The deal came after last-ditch talks with conservative leaders Angela Merkel and Edmund Stoiber following months of bitter wrangling.

The compromise would make it easier to deport clerics who preach hate, as well as foreigners who are deemed to be a threat even if they have not been convicted.

The deal would cover persons such as Abdelghani Mzoudi, who was cleared earlier this year on charges of being an accessory to murder in the September 11 attacks even though he had received training in Afghanistan.


Man linked to blasts sentenced to jail

PARIS — A Paris court sentenced a Frenchman linked to a suspected Madrid train bomber to four years in prison yesterday for abetting a network of Islamic terrorists in Europe.

David Courtailler, a French convert to Islam, was found guilty on charges of conspiring with criminals engaged in a terrorist enterprise. Two years of his term were suspended.

Courtailler, 28, has been linked to Jamal Zougam, a key suspect in the Madrid bombings, which killed 191 persons in March.


U.N. chief in Kosovo quits over health

HELSINKI — The U.N. chief in Kosovo, Harri Holkeri, resigned yesterday because of ill health after less than a year in the job, the fourth governor in five years to fail to defuse ethnic tensions in the protectorate.

He bowed out two months short of the end of his one-year renewable mandate after criticism of his administration’s inability to foresee or control Albanian-Serb clashes in March in which 19 persons were killed and more than 3,000 Serbs were forced to flee.

The former Finnish prime minister, 67, was hospitalized briefly in France this month suffering from fatigue.


Bomb blast kills 2 at Karachi port

KARACHI — A parcel bomb exploded yesterday at a checkpoint in the port area of the southern Pakistani city of Karachi, killing at least two persons and injuring five, police and an emergency worker said.

Police said a man approached a checkpoint at a shipping yard of the state-run Karachi Port Trust and handed a parcel to a security official deployed there. The parcel exploded soon thereafter.

In southern Pakistan, a powerful bomb blast damaged a natural gas pipeline.

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