- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 19, 2006


Guantanamo in mate to be freed soon

BERLIN — A Turk with German residency held at the U.S. prison camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, since 2002 will be freed this week, German press reported yesterday.

The weekly Der Spiegel and daily Financial Times Deutschland said that after months of talks between the U.S. and German governments, a deal has been struck to release Murat Kurnaz, a Turkish national who was born in Germany in 1982.

Dubbed the “Bremen Taliban” after the city in northern Germany where he lived, Kurnaz was in the process of becoming a German citizen when he was arrested in Pakistan in late 2001.


Lebanese student held in bomb plot

BERLIN — German authorities yesterday arrested a Lebanese student suspected of helping plant two bombs that failed to explode on trains last month, officials said.

The 21-year-old man was detained a day after investigators released surveillance camera footage taken at the Cologne station on July 31, the day of the attempted bombing, showing two men with heavy luggage who were thought to have planted the devices.

The bombs, made with gas canisters, were found inside suitcases left on board trains in Dortmund and Koblenz, both of which had stopped in Cologne. They apparently were supposed to explode simultaneously, 10 minutes before the trains arrived at those stations.

The suspect was arrested at the main train station in the Baltic Sea port city of Kiel, where he lived and studied.


Genocide tag sought for Stalin-era famine

KIEV — Ukraine hopes to persuade the United Nations to recognize that the great famine of 1932-33, which killed up to 10 million Ukrainians, was genocide, Deputy Foreign Minister Mykola Maimeskul said yesterday.

Ukrainian specialists charge that under Josef Stalin Soviet authorities intentionally brought about the famine in order to weaken Ukraine’s nascent independence movement.

The famine has been blamed on the program of forced collectivization of land begun in 1932 and the seizure by authorities of seed, wheat, flour, vegetables and livestock.

Jacob Sundeberg, president of an international commission set up to investigate the famine, said the facts supported the use of the label genocide.

Weekly notes …

Police set up roadblocks and launched helicopter searches yesterday for the 700-year-old Icon of the Virgin Mary that was stolen from a monastery in southern Greece. The icon, credited with miracles, was reported missing Friday at the Orthodox Christian monastery of Elona, near the town of Leonidio, 185 miles southwest of Athens. … Inspired by a Monty Python sketch, a charity fundraiser in London submitted himself yesterday to being slapped in the face with a couple of wet fish. Ben Fillmore, 24, turned up at Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park in central London at high noon to be publicly humiliated with two fresh Scottish rainbow trout at the hands of student Lucy Berry, 23, who had paid $395 on Internet auction site E-Bay to be part of Mr. Fillmore’s quest to raise $18,838 for the Stroke Association.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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