- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 13, 2005


Man with gun heldnear prime minister

ISTANBUL — A man carrying a gun hidden inside a loaf of bread was arrested yesterday as he approached a bus that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was boarding, and a prosecutor said the suspect may have intended to shoot the prime minister.

Mr. Erdogan was leaving after a speech opening the school year in Kutahya, in western Turkey.

Private CNN-Turk television said the man approached Mr. Erdogan yelling, “Have you heard the news? Yesterday, we gave up five martyrs.” Five Turkish soldiers were killed Sunday in clashes with separatist Kurdish rebels.


Ex-Taliban envoyfreed from Gitmo

KABUL — The former Taliban ambassador to Pakistan has been released from a U.S. military prison in Cuba under an Afghan government reconciliation program, Afghan state television said yesterday.

Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef became the Taliban’s spokesman after the September 11 attacks and held regular press conferences at his embassy in Islamabad at which he tried to convince the world that Taliban guest Osama bin Laden was not responsible.


Passengers freedafter hijack attempt

BOGOTA — A father in a wheelchair and his son used two grenades to hijack an airliner yesterday, but surrendered five hours later after allowing the crew and passengers, including one American, to leave the plane.

The freed hostages told reporters the elder hijacker said he was partially paralyzed by a police bullet during a drug raid about 14 years ago and had sought compensation unsuccessfully.

The Aires airliner, thought to be carrying 20 passengers and five crew members, had departed the southern city of Florencia when the two men commandeered it, said Gen. Edgar Lesmez, the chief of the Colombian Air Force.


Mugabe defendsstatute change

HARARE — President Robert Mugabe quietly adopted constitutional changes that make it easier for the state to seize private property and prevent opponents from traveling abroad to criticize his 25-year rule, state radio revealed yesterday.

The report said Mr. Mugabe signed the amendments into law Friday, the same day the International Monetary Fund deferred a decision for six months on whether to expel this southern African nation.

The amendments mark “the liberation of our land,” Mr. Mugabe said yesterday during a three-day trip to Cuba. “It’s now final, and no one can question it.”


ETA to declaretruce in 3 months

MADRID — Basque separatist guerrilla group ETA will announce a truce within the next three months after indirect contacts with the government, a Spanish newspaper reported yesterday.

El Mundo quoted unidentified sources as saying the two sides were at the stage of negotiating a truce and that the date was “practically fixed.”

El Pais reported that Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero’s government was demanding that Basque party Batasuna — banned as the political wing of ETA — put pressure on ETA to lay down its weapons.


Anesthetist chargedin hepatitis spread

VALENCIA — An anesthetist suspected of drug addiction is accused of infecting 276 patients with hepatitis C, and the Valencia public prosecutor is seeking a sentence of 2,214 years.

The trial of Dr. Juan Maeso, 63, a former chief anesthetist at the local La Fe maternity hospital, began yesterday at a specially designed courtroom.

The prosecution says Dr. Maeso, a hepatitis C carrier, infected the patients — at least three of whom have died — between 1988 and 1997 by administering anesthetics using needles he had used to inject himself with drugs.


U.N. probe on Haririexpands to Syria

BEIRUT — Under growing pressure, Syria agreed yesterday to allow a U.N. investigator to question members of President Bashar Assad’s inner circle about the assassination of Lebanon’s former prime minister, an inquiry some think might shake his regime.

The visit by investigator Detlev Mehlis highlights the vulnerability of Mr. Assad’s government, which has become increasingly isolated, facing pressure over Lebanon — where its power has crumbled — and Iraq.

Mr. Mehlis came to Damascus for the first time since his team began its inquiry into the Feb. 14 killing of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in a bombing. The United Nations said yesterday it is giving Mr. Mehlis until Oct. 25 to complete his investigation — an extension of 40 days.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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