- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 31, 2005

BRITAIN

Mayor faces probe on Nazi remark

LONDON — London Mayor Ken Livingstone will face a disciplinary hearing for comparing a Jewish journalist to a Nazi concentration camp guard, a local government watchdog said yesterday.

The Standards Board for England said an investigation had concluded that a disciplinary hearing should take up the matter. The Adjudication Panel for England, which will conduct the hearing, could bar Mr. Livingstone from office for up to five years, censure him, order him to apologize or force him to undergo training.

The mayor said he had not meant to offend the Jewish community in February when he asked Evening Standard reporter Oliver Finegold whether he had been a “German war criminal.”

FRANCE

3rd fire fuels debate on poor housing

PARIS — A blaze that killed seven African immigrants in a run-down building in Paris — the second in four days and the third in five months — blew up into a public debate yesterday over housing for the poor and the government’s crackdown on illegal aliens.

The national government vowed that it would tackle the chronic shortage of social housing in the capital where local authorities have identified more than 420 dilapidated apartment buildings, many of which are potential firetraps.

Police said it appeared that Monday night’s blaze in the five-story building in the central Marais district had started accidentally in the wooden stairwell, probably from ad hoc electrical wiring set up by some of the 40 illegal aliens from Ivory Coast.

President Jacques Chirac expressed his horror over the fire and promised that his government would take “strong initiatives.”

INDIA

Prisoners swap with Pakistan agreed

NEW DELHI — India and Pakistan agreed yesterday to release hundreds of fishermen and other civilians in each other’s jails — a goodwill measure that comes as part of a peace process between the two countries.

Both sides also agreed to provide better consular access to prisoners, notify each other of arrests and join forces to stamp out terrorism. The announcements came after two-day talks between home secretaries from both sides.

These decisions came ahead of a meeting between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf in New York on Sept. 14.

INDONESIA

Aceh rebels given amnesty

JAKARTA — Indonesia’s president signed a decree yesterday giving amnesty to about 2,000 jailed members of the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) as well as leaders of the group living in exile.

The amnesty is a key plank of an Aug. 15 peace deal, which saw GAM give up its demand for independence in tsunami-devastated Aceh province, effectively ending three decades of bloody fighting.

NETHERLANDS

World’s oldest person dies at 115

AMSTERDAM — The world’s oldest person on record, a Dutchwoman who swore by a daily helping of herring for a healthy life, died yesterday at 115.

Hendrikje van Andel-Schipper, a former needlework teacher born on June 29, 1890, died in her sleep at a nursing home in the northern Dutch town of Hoogeveen.

Also known as Hennie, she had no children and was widowed in 1959 after 20 years of marriage. She decided in 1972 to donate her body to science, and her body was taken to Groningen University yesterday for immediate tests to search for clues as to why she lived so long.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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