- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 7, 2005


Terrorism feared ahead of vote

KABUL — A mosque suicide bombing and an attempt to down a U.S. aircraft signaled the start of attempts by al Qaeda and the Taliban to destabilize legislative elections, a presidential spokesman said yesterday.

The warning by President Hamid Karzai’s spokesman Jawed Ludin of efforts to derail the Sept. 18 elections follows a surge in violence, with more than 200 suspected rebels killed in three months, U.S. and Afghan officials said.


Maoists apologize for killing civilians

KATMANDU — Communist rebels apologized yesterday for making a “grave mistake” by bombing a civilian bus in an attack that killed 38 persons and injured 71, saying they were targeting government security forces.

Rebel leader Prachanda said the fighters involved in Monday’s attack and the local leadership had been suspended from the group.


Foreign minister invites Vatican official

ROME — Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov invited his Vatican counterpart to visit Moscow later this year in an effort to improve relations between Russia and the Holy See, the Vatican said yesterday.

The Vatican said the invitation to its foreign secretary, Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, was aimed at the “further development” of cordial relations.

Pope John Paul II long sought to visit Russia before his death April 2, but he was blocked by the Russian Orthodox Church.


Milosevic linked to militant unit

BELGRADE — Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic’s police directly controlled a notorious Serbian armed unit known as the Scorpions and gave them a license to kill in Bosnia and Kosovo, a police document shows.

The unit was one of the several Serbian paramilitary contingents that spread fear and conducted massive ethnic-cleansing operations against non-Serbs during the Balkans wars in the 1990s, military analyst Dejan Anastasijevic said.

The Scorpions, about 150 men with shaved heads, gained international notoriety last week when a gruesome video of the July 1995 executions of six Bosnian Muslim prisoners near Srebrenica was shown on Serbian television.


Asylum seekers file fake claims

DUBLIN — More than 90 percent of applications for political asylum in Ireland turn out to be unfounded, Justice Minister Michael McDowell said yesterday.

In a lengthy reply to criticism of his asylum policy and the number of deportations, Mr. McDowell said he would be firm in dealing rigorously with abuses.

Among the claims made by bogus asylum seekers were persecution by a secret sect and fears of tribal customs such as ritual sacrifices of children.


Health officials push needles, condoms

SHANGHAI — In an aggressive anti-AIDS push, China’s Health Ministry is urging the promotion of free condoms and needle exchanges — strategies previously considered taboo by the conservative communist government.

The proposed guidelines urge local governments to tailor those measures to high-risk groups in one of the boldest nationwide campaigns yet against the disease.


Police beat student protesters

ADDIS ABABA — Police raided a technical college yesterday in Ethiopia’s capital, firing rubber bullets and beating up students defying a government ban on protests.

It was the second day that police and students have clashed over disputed election results that gave the ruling party control of parliament. One girl was killed and seven persons were wounded. Hundreds were arrested.


Court strips Pinochet of immunity

SANTIAGO — A Chilean appeals court stripped Gen. Augusto Pinochet of immunity from prosecution yesterday in a tax evasion case stemming from multimillion-dollar bank accounts that the former dictator held in the United States.

The 21-4 vote to strip Gen. Pinochet of the legal immunity that he holds as former president adds to the legal troubles of the 89-year-old, who also faces court battles in lawsuits arising from human rights violations during his dictatorship.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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