- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 26, 2004

IRAN

‘Strategic missile’ tested successfully

TEHRAN — Iran added a “strategic missile” to its military arsenal after a successful test, and the defense minister said yesterday his country was ready to confront any external threat.

The report by state-run radio did not say whether the test involved the previously announced new version of the Shahab-3 rocket, capable of reaching Israel and U.S. forces stationed in the Middle East, or a different missile.

“This strategic missile was successfully test-fired during military exercises by the Revolutionary Guards and delivered to the armed forces,” Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani was quoted as saying.

TAIWAN

Prime minister backs U.S. weapons deal

TAIPEI — A leader of the Republic of China [Taiwan] said yesterday that a government plan to spend billions of dollars on U.S. weapons would help the island defend itself if rival China attacked, as thousands of protesters marched in the capital to denounce the deal.

Prime Minister Yu Shyi-kun, Taiwan’s No. 3 leader, said the weapons were necessary to maintain the balance of power with China, across the 100-mile-wide Taiwan Strait.

The government wants to buy $18 billion worth of arms, including anti-missile systems, planes and diesel-electric submarines.

Thousands of protesters marched through pouring rain in the streets of Taipei yesterday, describing the deal as the start of a wasteful arms race.

SUDAN

Opposition party accused of coup plot

KHARTOUM — Sudanese authorities accused an opposition party yesterday of plotting to kill more than three dozen senior government officials and blow up key sites in the capital, where heavily armed troops were out in force for a second day.

The state news agency said the planned attacks were part of a coup plot for which some members of the opposition Popular Congress Party were arrested earlier this month.

The development comes as Sudan is under international pressure to end violence in the western Darfur region between non-Arab farmers and Arab nomads, backed by the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum. An estimated 50,000 people have died in the 19-month conflict.

CHILE

Pinochet questioned about political killings

SANTIAGO — A judge questioned Gen. Augusto Pinochet for an hour yesterday about the disappearance of leftist political opponents during his 1973-90 dictatorship.

Judge Juan Guzman, who indicted Gen. Pinochet in 2001 in a different human rights case that was blocked by Chile’s Supreme Court, did not comment when he entered or left the former leader’s suburban mansion’s grounds in his car.

BRITAIN

Dating agency caters to dogs

LONDON — Britain’s pampered pooches have their own dating agency. Owners who feel that their dogs need romance, or perhaps just companionship, can register them on a lonely hearts Web site.

More than 40 canines have already been signed up with the “Cold Nose Warm Heart” agency.

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