- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 24, 2005

PAKISTAN

Ex-President Bush calls quake survivors

MUZAFFARABAD — Former President George Bush, recently appointed to lead the U.N. effort to help victims of the South Asian earthquake, promised to work to help millions of quake survivors, Pakistani state-run media said yesterday.

In a telephone call from the United States, Mr. Bush told Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf he would soon visit quake-striken areas to inspect relief work, Pakistan’s television reported.

WEST BANK

Prime minister will not run

RAMALLAH — Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia said yesterday he will not run in parliamentary elections next month because of an Israeli threat to ban voting in East Jerusalem.

Mr. Qureia, who lives on the outskirts of East Jerusalem, also said he thinks the Jan. 25 vote should be postponed because of Israel’s threat.

Control of Jerusalem is one of the central disputes in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Palestinians claim predominantly Arab East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state. Israel, which captured East Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war, considers the entire city its capital.

Israel has allowed East Jerusalem Arabs to participate in past Palestinian elections, but it is threatening to ban voting in the parliamentary election if the Palestinian Authority does not prevent the militant Islamic group Hamas from running.

AZERBAIJAN

Equipment blamed for plane crash

BAKU — Equipment failure may have caused a plane crash that killed 23 persons on the Caspian Sea coast, an airline official said yesterday.

All 18 passengers and five crew members on the Azerbaijani Airlines An-140 twin-engine turboprop died in the crash late Friday, said Rustam Usubov, Azerbaijan’s first deputy prosecutor general.

The passenger list included eight foreigners — a Briton, an Australian, a Turk, a Georgian and four Kazakhs, said Valida Aslanova, a dispatcher at the international airport in the capital, Baku, where the plane took off shortly beforehand.

JAPAN

Missile defense to move forward

TOKYO — The Japanese government has decided to move forward with a ballistic-missile defense program with the United States, a government official said yesterday.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe said the government has decided to proceed with the joint development of a missile interceptor for the program, designed to use defensive missiles to destroy attacking missiles.

The project is part of sweeping changes to Japan’s defense policy by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

Tokyo and Washington have been discussing an estimated $3 billion joint defense shield, with Japan’s share at about one-third, defense officials said.

PAKISTAN

Angry dad slits daughter’s throat

MULTAN — A father angry that his eldest daughter married for love slit her throat as she slept, then killed three other daughters in a remote village in eastern Pakistan, police said yesterday.

Nazir Ahmad, a laborer in his 40s, feared the younger girls, aged 4 to 12, would follow in their 25-year-old sister’s footsteps, police Officer Shahzad Gul said.

Hundreds of women are killed in Pakistan every year, many by male relatives, after they are accused of having affairs or marrying for love without their families’ consent.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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