- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 15, 2005


4 commandos dead in fight with terrorists

MOSCOW — Four Russian commandos were killed yesterday while storming two houses used by militants, suspected of having Islamist links, in the southern Dagestan region, Russian media reported.

Five militants were holding out in a house in Dagestan’s capital, Makhachkala, shooting from the basement despite the building’s destruction, said NTV Television. It showed a tank approaching the blazing ruin and soldiers firing bazookas.

Dagestan borders Chechnya, and violence has spilled over from a decade of fighting between Russian forces and separatist guerrillas in the predominantly Muslim republic.


Smacking children now a serious crime

LONDON — Parents in England and Wales who smack children so hard that it leaves a mark now face up to five years in jail under new laws that came into force yesterday.

Mild smacking is allowed but any punishment that causes visible bruising, grazes, scratches, swellings or cuts can lead to penalties under the new legislation.

A similar law is already in force in Scotland.


Camp breakup sparks political discord

KIEV — In a sign of emerging cracks in the camp of Ukraine’s apparent next president, a top ally of Viktor Yushchenko yesterday criticized Mr. Yushchenko’s order to raze the tent camp that became a vivid symbol of the country’s “Orange Revolution.”

Yulia Tymoshenko, a fiery orator and key driving force behind a wave of opposition protests that paved the way for Mr. Yushchenko’s Dec. 26 victory in a court-ordered revote, urged him to respect the residents of the tent camp, many of whom were disappointed by Mr. Yushchenko’s call to leave.

The sprawling camp on Kiev’s main avenue sprang up hours after the first presidential runoff vote on Nov. 21, which the Supreme Court annulled because of fraud.


Disguised mayor finds crooked cabbie

PRAGUE — Prague’s overcharging taxi drivers don’t discriminate. Just ask the mayor.

Mayor Pavel Bem promised on Friday to intensify crackdowns on the city’s greedy cabbies after getting his own tourist experience: a two-mile ride and a $34 bill.

Wearing dark glasses, a fake goatee and a mustache and posing as a tourist, Mr. Bem got a cab on Thursday that took him from the Old Town Square to the Prague Castle — two major attractions for several million tourists visiting Prague every year.

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