- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 1, 2006


Rice refuses to give Guantanamo timetable

BLACKBURN — Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said yesterday she looks forward to the day when the United States can shut down its prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but she offered no timetable.

The prison will not remain open “any longer than is needed,” Miss Rice said at a press conference with British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, her host for a two-day visit meant to be a hospitable view of ordinary life outside the capital of Washington’s closest ally.

“We have to recognize Guantanamo is there for a reason, because we captured people on battlefields … who were either plotting or planning or actively engaged in terrorist activities,” Miss Rice said.

The United States has released many Guantanamo prisoners, including some Britons, and will be “glad of the day when conditions permit the closure of Guantanamo,” she added.

Blackburn is about 20 percent Muslim, and opposition to the U.S.-led war in Iraq is strong.


Hundreds flee flooding in Central Europe

PRAGUE — Hundreds of people fled their flood-threatened homes across Central Europe with many more on standby for evacuation as the levels of some rivers continued to rise yesterday.

The situation was most critical in the Czech Republic, where public emergencies had been declared in half of the country’s 14 regions by last night.


Left-wing parties reject jobs law

PARIS — French left-wing parties yesterday rejected a decision by President Jacques Chirac to modify a youth jobS law that has sparked a national crisis and said they would march to press for the measure to be scrapped.

Opposition groups said they would join students and unions in more mass protests set for Tuesday despite Mr. Chirac’s speech on Friday, aimed at defusing a confrontation over the law that has put pressure on Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin.

Under the law, employers can fire workers under age 26 without reason during a two-year trial period. Mr. Chirac said he would sign it and then introduce a new one to create a one-year trial period and make employers justify any firing.


Homosexuals celebrate same-sex ‘marriage’

AMSTERDAM — Hundreds of people attended a ceremony in Amsterdam’s City Hall yesterday to mark the fifth anniversary of the introduction of homosexual “marriages” in the Netherlands, the country that pioneered such ceremonies.

More than 8,000 homosexual couples have “wed” in civil services since the practice was legalized.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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