- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 10, 2005

RUSSIA

Anti-Semitism blamed for synagogue fire

MALAKHOVKA, Russia — A fire roared through a synagogue in a Moscow suburb early yesterday, burning down much of the wooden structure in an incident that Jewish leaders blamed on anti-Semitism.

The synagogue in the town of Malakhovka, 12 miles southeast of Moscow, caught fire at about 6 a.m., and the flames quickly engulfed the entire one-story building. Firefighters were unable to prevent damage to the building’s interior and roof.

Jewish leaders called it a hate crime.

?The fire was caused by arson [committed] out of religious hatred,? Borukh Gorin, a spokesman for the Federation of Russia’s Jewish Organizations, told Ekho Moskvy radio.

Officials said the cause of the fire was unknown and that it was under investigation.

NEPAL

U.S. envoy pushes democracy

KATMANDU — Hundreds of Maoist rebels stormed two army bases in Nepal, sparking fierce fighting in which at least 32 guerrillas died, the army said yesterday as a top U.S. envoy visited the nation to press King Gyanendra to restore democracy.

One soldier and three policemen also were killed, a senior army official said, making the fighting among the deadliest reported since King Gyanendra seized power Feb. 1 in what he said was a bid to end the bloody insurgency.

News of the clashes came on the first full day of a trip by Assistant Secretary of State Christina Rocca, the most senior American official to visit Katmandu since King Gyanendra sacked the government and suspended civil liberties.

CHINA

Beijing nixes sanctions to prod N. Korea

BEIJING - China yesterday rejected using sanctions to prod North Korea to return to six-nation talks on its nuclear ambitions, with a spokesman saying Beijing’s political and trade relations with its neighbor should be kept separate.

The statement from China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Liu Jianchao, came as a Bush administration official said the United States has asked China to redouble its efforts to lure North Korea back to negotiations.

“We stand for resolving the issue through dialogue. We are not in favor of exerting pressure or imposing sanctions,” Mr. Liu said at a regular briefing. “We believe that such measures are not necessarily effective.”

PERU

Lima to intensify bid to extradite Fujimori

LIMA, Peru — Peru will file seven new requests for the extradition of former President Alberto Fujimori from Japan on corruption charges, adding to two already pending on murder and graft counts, the government said yesterday.

The new requests relate to alleged misuse of state funds, improper issuing of decrees and other charges of government irregularity.

Peru filed its first extradition request — on charges of political responsibility for the murder by a death squad of 25 persons — in July 2003.

It has said it will take its case to the International Court of Justice in The Hague if it gets no answer by June.

BRITAIN

‘Jurassic’ pine tree planted in London

LONDON — A ‘Jurassic’ tree dating from the dinosaur age and long thought to have been extinct for 200 million years was planted yesterday at a park in London by British wildlife expert Sir David Attenborough.

One of the rarest trees in the world, the Wollemi pine was found in Australia by a national parks officer, David Noble, in 1994.

The discovery astonished botanists worldwide, who had thought the tree died out millions of years ago.

“How marvelous and exciting that we should have discovered this rare survivor from such an ancient past,” Mr. Attenborough said as the tree went on public display at Kew Gardens.

“It is romantic, I think, that something has survived 200 million years unchanged,” he said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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