- The Washington Times - Monday, May 30, 2005

ITALY

Pope reaches out to Orthodox Church

BARI — Pope Benedict XVI pledged yesterday to work to end Roman Catholicism’s 1,000-year-old rift with the Orthodox Church, delivering a message of healing on the first trip of his papacy.

Benedict flew by helicopter to the Adriatic port of Bari, home to the relics of St. Nicholas of Myra, a fourth-century saint popular among both Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians.

At a Mass there, the pope said he was committed “to work, with all my energy, toward reconstituting the full and visible unity of Christ’s followers.”

SUDAN

Children seek food from U.N. chief

RUMBEK — U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said yesterday that he would press donors to meet aid pledges for southern Sudan after he was confronted by a stark message on the urgent need for food on his first visit to the war-battered region.

“Kofi, no food, hunger imminent,” read a banner held up by a small group of children on the roadside as his convoy passed through Rumbek, the southern bastion of former rebel leader John Garang.

Donors promised $4.5 billion to bolster a recent peace deal at a conference in Oslo in April, but aid workers say donors are failing to send food needed to avert the south’s worst hunger crisis since a 1998 famine in which at least 60,000 persons died.

INDONESIA

Al Qaeda suspected in two bomb blasts

JAKARTA — Twin bomb blasts that killed 22 persons in a Christian town in eastern Indonesia bore the hallmarks of a regional militant group linked to al Qaeda, the vice president and a senior police official said yesterday.

About 50 people were wounded in the blasts on Saturday in the lakeside town of Tentena on the eastern island of Sulawesi, the worst bombings in Indonesia since the 2002 Bali attacks that killed 202 persons.

Vice President Jusuf Kalla said the bombings were similar to those carried out by Jemaah Islamiah, a shadowy militant group seen as the regional arm of al Qaeda.

ROMANIA

U.S. base comment gets general fired

BUCHAREST — A senior Romanian general has been removed from his job after telling reporters that Romania would provide U.S. forces with bases near the Black Sea, the Defense Ministry said yesterday.

Gen. Valeriu Nicut, head of the strategic planning division for the Romanian general staff, said on Wednesday after an international military conference on security issues that the U.S. would set up two military bases in Romania within a year.

But Gen. Nicut “had no mandate to speak to the press on the issue of bases,” Defense Ministry spokesman Cristinel Ghiga said. “There is no accord on this issue with the American state.”

SAUDI ARABIA

Chest X-rays show King Fahd improving

RIYADH — King Fahd was recovering from the pneumonia that sent him to the hospital last week, a hospital official said, citing chest X-rays taken yesterday.

The king’s condition was “stable and improving” and his temperature was back to normal but he remains in intensive care, said the official at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center in Riyadh, the capital.

Fahd was hospitalized on Friday for unspecified medical tests. Concerned Saudis have closely followed health updates on the king, thought to be 82, who allied his country with the United States.

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