- The Washington Times - Monday, October 24, 2005

IRAQ

Blasts rattle cities after relative lull

BAGHDAD — At least three car bombs and several roadside bombs hit U.S. and Iraqi security forces in Baghdad and the northern city of Kirkuk yesterday, killing at least eight persons and wounding dozens more, Iraqi police said.

The past 10 days have brought a relative lull in violence despite a constitutional referendum on Oct. 15 and the start of former dictator Saddam Hussein’s trial on charges of crimes against humanity. But U.S. commanders have warned of more attacks in the run-up to Dec. 15 elections.

The U.S. military death toll in Iraq is approaching the psychological landmark of 2,000. The toll stood at 1,996 yesterday afternoon, according to an Associated Press count.

ROMANIA

U.S. close to deal on Black Sea bases

BUCHAREST — The United States and new NATO member Romania are close to reaching an agreement to establish American military bases on the Black Sea, National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley said yesterday.

Romania has been promoting its airfields and bases as a hub for U.S. forces as Washington pulls 70,000 troops out of Central Europe and Asia in the next decade in favor of smaller bases closer to potential hot spots such as the Middle East.

“The framework basically allows access to facilities so as to facilitate cooperation between the forces of the United States and Romania,” Mr. Hadley said after meeting with President Traian Basescu.

PAKISTAN

Pleas intensify for quake relief

MUZAFFARABAD — International efforts to help up to 3 million survivors of Pakistan’s devastating earthquake are gathering momentum, but time is short and much more is needed, aid officials said yesterday.

U.S. Gen. John Abizaid said the United States would be sending more helicopters for the aid effort, and the U.S. Geological Survey reported that a new quake measured at magnitude 6 rocked northern areas including the capital, Islamabad.

POLAND

Conservative wins in presidential vote

WARSAW — Conservative Lech Kaczynski won yesterday’s Polish presidential runoff on a Catholic platform that promised to weed out corruption and shore up welfare in the European Union’s biggest new member.

Exit polls showed Mr. Kaczynski, a tough-on-crime Warsaw mayor, captured about 53 percent of the vote, a six-point advantage over his pro-business ally turned rival Donald Tusk.

Mr. Kaczynski’s victory, if confirmed by final results today, will tighten his Law and Justice party’s grip on power.

VATICAN

Benedict names five new saints

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI named five new saints yesterday at a Mass closing a three-week meeting of the world’s Roman Catholic bishops that reaffirmed the church’s position on celibacy for priests and other central teachings.

Most of the 250 bishops who attended the Synod of Bishops joined the pope in celebrating the Mass and the ceremony to elevate five men to sainthood.

Many of the thousands of people gathered in St. Peter’s Square waved Chilean flags in honor of a Chilean Jesuit who was being canonized.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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