- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 14, 2005


Putin wants to sign WWII land treaty

TOKYO — Russian President Vladimir Putin has told a former Japanese prime minister he wants to visit Japan in November for talks on a formal treaty to end a land dispute from World War II, reports said yesterday.

The neighboring countries have been debating a date for the visit for months after Mr. Putin agreed to come here this year to mark the 150th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between them.

Mr. Putin told former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori in St. Petersburg yesterday that he wanted the visit to be around the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in South Korea on Nov. 18-19, major Japanese news media reported.


Fans celebrate Jackson verdict

LONDON — Michael Jackson fans around the world celebrated his string of “not guilty” verdicts in a California child-molestation case and expressed hope yesterday that his musical career would now hit new heights.

In the Philippines, flamboyant former first lady Imelda Marcos cheered the verdict.

In Romania, where Mr. Jackson is widely popular since he played two huge concerts in 1992 and 1996 and donated a playground to a Bucharest orphanage, fans were elated.

In France, Yves Gautier, author of “Michael Jackson, The Other Side of the Mirror,” said Mr. Jackson still has a loyal core of fans in France and Asia, and could organize a tour when he recovers his health.


Kabul said on verge of cholera epidemic

KABUL — The Afghan capital is on the verge of a cholera epidemic, with more than 2,000 cases of the disease and at least eight deaths reported in recent weeks, a health specialist warned yesterday.

Afghanistan’s Health Ministry confirmed up to 300 cases Monday, but claimed they have been dealt with and there had been no fatalities. It said there was no risk of the disease spreading.

But yesterday, Fred Hartman, technical director for a USAID-backed health and development program, said that eight or nine persons had died in the past two weeks, and warned the disease could spread quickly throughout the city’s population estimated at 4 million.


Security guards freed in missing teen case

ORANJESTAD — Authorities freed two former hotel security guards detained after Natalee Holloway vanished, intensifying the focus yesterday on three younger men who took the Alabama teenager to a beach before she disappeared.

Officials who confirmed the release of Antonius “Mickey” John, 30, and Abraham Jones, 28, late Monday declined to comment on whether they were making progress in solving the mystery of Miss Holloway’s disappearance on the Dutch Caribbean island during a student trip.


Suspect in making of car bombs held

BAGHDAD — Security forces have captured a reputed key member of Abu Musab Zarqawi’s al Qaeda in Iraq terrorist group, who is accused of building and selling cars used by suicide bombers, the government said yesterday.

Jassim Hazan Hamadi al-Bazi, also known as Abu Ahmed, was arrested June 7, the government said. It added that he was part of an al Qaeda cell run by a man identified as Hussayn Ibrahim.

Al Qaeda in Iraq and other extremist Islamic groups have been blamed for many of the suicide car bombings, beheadings and attacks that have killed at least 1,009 persons since the Shi’ite-led government was announced April 28.


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