- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 24, 2005

BELARUS

Police detain U.S. diplomat

MINSK — Police briefly detained a U.S. diplomat in Belarus, and activists said yesterday that the authorities wanted to prevent him from meeting them.

American diplomats expressed concern over the detention and were discussing the incident with Belarusian officials, said U.S. Embassy spokesman Alexei Solomakha.

The U.S. government has been a vocal critic of President Alexander Lukashenko, whose government fears opposition attempts to foment political change in this tightly controlled country.



IRAN

President promises new nuke proposals

TEHRAN — Iran soon will offer new proposals for negotiations with Europe over the nation’s disputed nuclear program, Iran’s ultraconservative president said yesterday. The Bush administration, however, said the European diplomatic process “still has legs.”

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said he instructed the Supreme National Security Council to draw up a new set of proposals over Iran’s uranium enrichment program.

ISRAEL

4 suspects slain in West Bank raid

JERUSALEM — An Israeli military raid on a West Bank refugee camp left four suspected militants dead yesterday and an Orthodox Jewish man was fatally stabbed in Jerusalem in an eruption of violence a day after Israel completed its evacuation of 25 settlements.

At the Tulkarm camp, Israeli soldiers surrounded a house and exchanged fire with suspected militants inside and outside, witnesses said.

The bodies of the four suspects were brought to the Tulkarm hospital an hour later. Residents said the dead were members of Islamic Jihad.

NORWAY

Gunmen target Muslim comic

OSLO — Unknown assailants yesterday fired shots at an Oslo restaurant owned by the family of a Pakistani-born female comedian who has achieved prominence for lampooning conservative Islam.

Shabana Rehman, 28, whose sister owns the restaurant, called the incident “an appalling act of terror” and said it would not deter her from continuing her work. Miss Rehman has made a career of joking about the cultural divide between Norway’s 4.5 million people and its 76,000-strong Muslim community.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

NEPAL

Opposition urged to shun Maoists

KATMANDU — Nepal’s royalist government urged opposition parties yesterday to call off proposed talks with Maoist rebels, saying they were playing into the hands of the guerrillas to sow fresh divisions in the troubled kingdom.

The warning was issued a day after the country’s seven mainstream parties said they were preparing to talk with the rebels to start joint protests against King Gyanendra, who seized power in a royal coup in February by sacking the coalition government.

More than 12,500 people, including hundreds of civilians, have died in the nine-year-old Maoist revolt in the impoverished Himalayan nation.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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