- The Washington Times - Monday, February 21, 2005

AUSTRALIA

450 more troops to be sent to Iraq

CANBERRA ” Australia will send 450 more troops to southern Iraq to help protect Japanese engineers and help bolster the country’s fledgling democracy, Prime Minister John Howard said today.

The new detachment will include a cavalry squadron, an infantry company and a team to train local forces, he said at a press conference in Canberra.

Australia, a staunch U.S. ally, sent 2,000 troops to take part in the invasion of Iraq and still has nearly 900 troops in and around the country.

NORTH KOREA

Kim sets conditions to resume nuke talks

SEOUL ” North Korean leader Kim Jong-il told a visiting Chinese envoy that his government will return to six-party nuclear talks if the United States shows “sincerity,” the communist state’s official news agency said today.

“We will go to the negotiating table anytime if there are mature conditions for the six-party talks thanks to the concerted efforts of the parties concerned in the future,” Mr. Kim said.

He expressed hope that the United States would show “trustworthy sincerity,” the Korean Central News Agency reported.

EGYPT

Hundreds protest Mubarak rule

CAIRO ” Several hundred Egyptians protested in central Cairo yesterday in the largest street demonstration since the debut last year of a campaign against continued rule by the Mubarak family.

Liberals, leftists and Islamists chanted: “Enough, shame, have mercy” and “Down, down with [President] Hosni Mubarak” in a public square outside the gates of Cairo University, as tens of thousands of mostly bemused commuters drove past.

PAKISTAN

Girl, 2, betrothed to punish uncle

MULTAN ” A tribal council in Pakistan has ordered the betrothal of a 2-year-old girl to a man 40 years older to punish her uncle for a purported affair with the man’s wife, police said yesterday.

The council, in the village of Kacha Chohan, about 215 miles west of the city of Multan in Punjab province, decreed last Tuesday that the girl must marry 42-year-old Muhammad Altaf, her uncle’s cousin, when she turns 18, police said. Mr. Altaf’s wife also was ordered to pay a $3,800 fine to her husband.

AFGHANISTAN

U.N. report warns of economic slide

KABUL ” Three years after the fall of the Taliban, Afghanistan remains the world’s sixth least-developed country, the United Nations said yesterday, warning that a nation that became a haven for international terrorists could fail again unless more is done to improve the lives of its long-suffering citizens.

In a wide-ranging report that measures Afghans’ personal security, welfare and ability to control their own lives, the world body ranked the country 173rd out of 178 assessed in 2004. The five states that fared worse are in sub-Saharan Africa.

SERBIA-MONTENEGRO

Bosnian Serb general to surrender to court

BELGRADE ” A top Bosnian Serb general who was a close aide to wartime commander Gen. Ratko Mladic has agreed to surrender voluntarily to the International War Crimes Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, the government in Belgrade said yesterday.

The government said retired Gen. Milan Gvero will give himself up to the U.N. tribunal at The Hague after talks with Serbian Justice Minister Zoran Stojkovic.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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