- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 17, 2005


Survivor says boat split in two

QUITO — One of the nine survivors of an Ecuadorean motorboat packed with more than 100 illegal migrants that sank in the Pacific Ocean off Colombia has said the overloaded vessel broke in two, according to a report yesterday.

A 25-year-old male survivor identified as Julio Sisalema said stricken migrants tried to grab parts of the boat and even other people in a effort to stay afloat as the vessel sank, according to the El Mercurio newspaper.

“Suddenly, it broke in two,” Mr. Sisalema said of the boat sinking, which occurred on Friday.


Bali bombers get reduced jail terms

JAKARTA — The Indonesian government yesterday reduced prison sentences for 19 persons, including the spiritual head of an al Qaeda-linked group, convicted in the Bali nightclub bombings that killed 202 persons. One other person was freed.

The reductions prompted dismay in Australia, home to most of the victims of the 2002 attacks.

Cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, who originally was sentenced to 30 months for his role in the 2002 attacks, got his time reduced by 4 months, said Dedi Sutardi, chief warden at Cipinang Prison in Jakarta.


Nominee declares loyalty to country

OTTAWA — Canada’s nominee for governor general declared yesterday her commitment to the country in a bid to quell a row over whether she supported independence for the French-speaking province of Quebec.

Prime Minister Paul Martin nominated Haitian refugee and television journalist Michaelle Jean to the largely ceremonial post, but both Mr. Martin and Mrs. Jean have come under pressure to clarify reports that she and her husband have supported the breakup of Canada.


Campaigning begins for key election

KABUL — Campaigning for Afghanistan’s parliamentary elections officially got under way yesterday, a month before voting that the Taliban have vowed to disrupt.

The run-up to the Sept. 18 elections, which will see nearly 6,000 candidates vying for 249 seats in the national parliament as well as the 34 provincial councils, is expected to be low key as candidates and parties are constrained by laws, logistics and their own finances.

But Afghans still are expected to enthusiastically embrace their latest experiment with democracy despite the ousted Taliban’s threatening to target candidates and disrupt the elections, and fear of intimidation by regional militia forces.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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