- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 3, 2005

FRANCE

Chirac hospitalized for eye problem

LA BAULE — President Jacques Chirac has been hospitalized in Paris after suffering from a blood vessel problem affecting his eyesight and was expected to remain there for about a week.

Mr. Chirac, 72, was awake and consulting with advisers after being taken to Val-de-Grace Hospital in Paris on Friday evening, Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin said.

Mr. de Villepin did not offer more specifics, but a blood vessel problem of this type could range from a ruptured vessel to a stroke. Strokes are often connected with vision problems.

Mr. Chirac has vowed to be frank about the state of his health, but French pundits said that they were concerned about the sketchy details being released on his illness and condition.

His predecessor, the late Francois Mitterrand, was criticized for concealing the fact that he had been suffering from cancer for 14 years.

GERMANY

Conservatives slam environment minister

BERLIN — German conservatives blasted Environment Minister Juergen Trittin for saying President Bush’s policies contributed to climate disasters such as Hurricane Katrina.

The conservative opposition blasted as “tasteless” Mr. Trittin’s remarks linking U.S. environmental policy to the catastrophe in the American South, saying he was trying to score points three weeks before German national elections on September 18.

Mr. Trittin of the Green Party had said in a column for the left-wing Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper Mr. Bush had increased the “scientific and human cost of weather disasters like Katrina,” ignoring the science on global warming.

SPAIN

Africans intercepted by coast guard

MADRID — The Spanish coast guard said yesterday it had intercepted 110 would-be African immigrants, including four babies and three other children, off the south coast, while police picked up an additional 35 off the Canary Islands.

According to the coast guard, a 60-strong group was picked up some 10 miles off the coastline at Motril just east of the Strait of Gibraltar, with the remainder, including the babies and children, picked up 2 miles away near Tarifa.

Thousands of illegal aliens a year try to make their way to Spain, usually via the Strait of Gibraltar but also via the Canary Islands, making perilous crossings in rickety boats called pateras.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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