- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 13, 2005

IRAQ

Ukraine withdraws 150 troops

BAGHDAD — Ukraine withdrew 150 servicemen from Iraq yesterday, beginning a gradual pullout, as Shi’ite and Kurdish politicians refined plans to form a coalition government that officials said includes an agreement not to turn the country into an Islamic state.

In Mosul, gunmen killed three policemen and wounded a fourth at a funeral procession. It was the second time in as many days that mourners have been targeted in that northern city.

Insurgents led by Sunni Arabs, a minority dominant under Saddam Hussein, are targeting Shi’ite funeral processions and ceremonies in an apparent campaign to spark a sectarian war.

ZIMBABWE

Whites not welcome as poll watchers

CHITUNGWIZA — Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe yesterday defended his decision not to invite EU countries to monitor parliamentary elections on March 31, saying Europe should stay out of Zimbabwe’s internal affairs.

“We have invited many countries but not whites … the likes of [British Prime Minister Tony] Blair and other Europeans,” Mr. Mugabe told supporters in the populous opposition stronghold of Chitungwiza.

CHINA

Power transferred to young generation

BEIJING (AP) — President Hu Jintao yesterday became chairman of a government military body, completing a transfer of power to a younger generation of communist leaders.

Mr. Hu succeeded his predecessor as president, Jiang Zemin, who gave up his last official title when he resigned as chairman of the government’s Central Military Commission. Mr. Hu replaced Mr. Jiang as Communist Party leader in 2002 and as president the next year.

The official Xinhua News Agency reported that Mr. Jiang praised Mr. Hu as a “young and energetic leader” with “excellent qualifications.” Mr. Hu is 62.

VATICAN

Pope prepares to leave hospital

VATICAN CITY — Pope John Paul II is preparing to leave the hospital this week, possibly as soon as tomorrow or Tuesday, for his return to the Vatican in time for Holy Week, said a priest from the pontiff’s hometown.

The Rev. Richard Nitschke, who spoke to the pope’s personal secretary during a visit yesterday, was the first person to publicly offer details on a possible discharge date since the 84-year-old pope was rushed back to Gemelli Polyclinic hospital and underwent throat surgery on Feb. 24 to ease his breathing.

The Vatican did not confirm the date, but it has said the pontiff would be home in time for Holy Week celebrations that begin a week from now, on March 20, and culminate with Easter.

GERMANY

Hitler removed from honor roll

LINDAU — Adolf Hitler has been removed from the list of honored citizens in the Bavarian town of Lindau, 72 years after the Nazi dictator rose to power, a member of the municipal council said yesterday.

The council voted unanimously at a meeting Tuesday to remove Hitler’s name, councilman Alexander Kiss told Agence France-Presse. The elected officials agreed it was “absurd” to keep Hitler on an honor roll.

The city became aware that Hitler’s name was still on the list during a project to create a plaque with the names of distinguished citizens.

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