- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 3, 2005


U.S. aircraft carrier leaves tsunami zone

BANDA ACEH — The U.S. aircraft carrier that led a massive helicopter operation to deliver life-giving aid to cutoff villages in the early days of the tsunami disaster began steaming away from the disaster zone yesterday.

The departure of the USS Abraham Lincoln from Indonesian waters marks a major drawdown of the U.S. military aid effort that began six days after the Dec. 26 tsunami and was the biggest U.S. military operation in Southeast Asia since the Vietnam War.

U.S. officials said last month that the emergency phase of the relief effort was ending and about 5,000 U.S. troops will withdraw gradually after the aircraft carrier’s departure.


Colonial king’s statue goes up and down

KINSHASA — A statue of the late King Leopold II, whose Belgian government was responsible for the deaths of millions of Congolese, mysteriously was taken down yesterday, a day after it was re-erected to remind people of the horrors of colonial rule.

The 20-foot statue went up late Wednesday in downtown Kinshasa after being hauled from a garbage dump. Several people within the government said President Joseph Kabila ordered the statue taken down.

Earlier in the day, cultural minister Chris Muzungu said the statue had been re-erected to remind the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s people of the country’s horrific colonial past, so “it never happens again.”


‘81 attacker wishes pope speedy recovery

ISTANBUL — The Turkish man who shot Pope John Paul II in 1981 released a cryptic statement yesterday wishing the hospitalized pontiff a speedy recovery and urging him to tell the world that its end was near.

Mehmet Ali Agca was extradited to Turkey in 2000 after serving almost 20 years in Italy for the May 13, 1981, shooting of the pope in St. Peter’s Square. Agca fired two shots, one of which hit the pope in the abdomen as he rode through the square in an open car.


Mandela compares poverty to slavery

LONDON — Nelson Mandela yesterday compared widespread poverty in developing countries to man-made evils such as slavery and apartheid, and urged wealthy nations to do more to fight it.

“In this new century, millions of people in the world’s poorest countries remain imprisoned, enslaved and in chains. They are trapped in the prison of poverty. It is time to set them free,” the former South African president told a rally in central London’s Trafalgar Square on the eve of a London meeting of the finance ministers of the Group of Seven industrialized nations.


Parliament defers vote on prime minister

KIEV — Parliament ended its session yesterday without considering Yulia Tymoshenko’s nomination as prime minister, the country’s No. 2 post, while lawmakers jockeyed over other key Cabinet positions for President Viktor Yushchenko’s new government.

Deputy parliament Speaker Adam Martinyk said lawmakers will reconvene today.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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