- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 3, 2005

CUBA

Castro calls Bush ‘deranged’

HAVANA — In his first public remarks since the United States dubbed Cuba “an outpost of tyranny,” Fidel Castro called President Bush “deranged” and belittled recent improvements in relations between Cuba and Europe.

In a televised address late Tuesday, Mr. Castro, 78, maintained his trademark go-it-alone attitude, saying his communist-run island is a paradise that is doing fine without the help of the United States or Europe.

NORTHERN IRELAND

IRA withdraws disarmament offer

BELFAST — The Irish Republican Army yesterday withdrew an offer to disarm, dealing a new blow to Anglo-Irish peacemaking efforts in Northern Ireland.

The IRA did not threaten a return to violence, but the move underlines the political deadlock gripping the province since the guerrilla group was accused by Britain and Ireland of mounting a massive bank raid in Belfast in December.

RUSSIA

Chechen rebel leader calls cease-fire

MOSCOW — Chechen rebel leader Aslan Maskhadov has ordered all Chechen fighters to observe a cease-fire this month in their separatist war against Russian troops, a rebel Web site reported yesterday.

Quoting an aide to Shamil Basayev, Russia’s most-wanted man and a chief suspect in the hostage crisis in the Russian town of Beslan last year, the Web site said Mr. Maskhadov gave the order on Jan. 14 as a gesture of good will.

COLOMBIA

Marxist rebels ambush army convoy, kill 8

BOGOTA — Marxist rebels in southern Colombia ambushed an army convoy with explosives and gunfire yesterday, killing eight soldiers and wounding four in the second deadly guerrilla attack in as many days, the military said.

President Alvaro Uribe late yesterday blamed both attacks on errors by members of the military and urged soldiers to exercise more caution.

In the attack yesterday, soldiers were traveling along a highway near Santa Ana, 350 miles southwest of the capital, Bogota, when their vehicles came under attack from fighters of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, according to the military.

GERMANY

President bows head in ‘shame’ over Nazis

JERUSALEM — German President Horst Koehler told Israeli lawmakers yesterday that he bows his head “in shame and humility” before the victims of the Nazi Holocaust, and he promised that Germany would wage a determined battle against anti-Semitism.

Mr. Koehler, marking 40 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries, began his speech in heavily accented Hebrew — a gesture that prompted his hosts to smile — before switching to German.

SRI LANKA

DNA test ordered over surviving baby

KALMUNAI — A judge’s ruling yesterday that a couple must undergo a DNA test to prove that they are the parents of a tsunami survivor known as “Baby 81” sparked chaos in a hospital pediatric ward after a surging crowd and the couple burst in and pleaded with doctors to release the infant.

The distraught couple was arrested for assault and criminal trespassing. Police said the pair assaulted hospital workers. A judge later released them on bail and ordered them to appear in court today.


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