- The Washington Times - Friday, July 8, 2005


300 troops to leave Iraq in September

GLENEAGLES, Scotland — Italy plans to withdraw 300 of its troops from Iraq in September, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said yesterday.

Speaking at the end of the G-8 summit, Mr. Berlusconi said the withdrawal plan could change because the decision depends on security conditions on the ground. He denied it was linked to terrorist threats against Italy.

Mr. Berlusconi, a staunch ally of President Bush’s, sent 3,000 troops to Iraq after the ouster of Saddam Hussein. On Thursday, a purported al Qaeda statement taking responsibility for bomb explosions in London threatened similar attacks against Italy and Denmark if they do not withdraw their troops from Iraq.


Guard kills teen in barrier protest

JERUSALEM — An Israeli security guard fatally shot a Palestinian teenager yesterday during a protest of Israel’s West Bank separation barrier, police said.

Demonstrators marked the first anniversary of a ruling by the International Court of Justice in The Hague that the barrier, a network of ditches, barbed wire and concrete blocks, violates international law and must be taken down.

The guard was taken into custody and his weapon confiscated, pending an investigation, police said.


Defense minister quits over war on rebels

BOGOTA — Colombia’s defense minister resigned yesterday amid criticism over his handling of the country’s counterinsurgency war and his purported relationship with a jailed female drug trafficker.

Jorge Alberto Uribe will be replaced by Camilo Ospina, a lawyer who currently serves as President Alvaro Uribe’s judicial counsel, officials said.

Mr. Uribe’s decision to quit follows a series of guerrilla attacks that have killed more than 300 troops this year and shattered government claims the rebels were near defeat. Last month, he narrowly survived a no-confidence vote in Congress that left him politically weakened.


Chinese diplomat granted asylum

CANBERRA — Australia granted a permanent “protection visa” yesterday to a former Chinese diplomat who has been seeking asylum in the country since May.

The visa will allow Chen Yonglin and his wife and their 6-year old daughter to have all the rights of a permanent resident. Mr. Yonglin, who recently quit the consulate in Sydney, had been refused asylum by Australia on May 26.


State TV pulls Fujimori ad

LIMA — In an abrupt turnabout, Peru’s state television channel pulled an election advertisement by former President Alberto Fujimori slated to be aired last night because he is wanted on murder and corruption charges.

The station last month granted air time to Mr. Fujimori, who has lived in Japan since fleeing a corruption scandal in 2000, but that decision sparked a flood of criticism from irate viewers.

“We can no longer present a fugitive as a legitimate candidate,” Eduardo Bruce, president of Peruvian National Television, said in explaining the decision to pull the ad.

Mr. Fujimori has vowed to return to Peru for the April 2006 elections, although he could be arrested immediately.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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