- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 21, 2006

Libya HIV conviction disappoints Bush

President Bush told Bulgarian President Georgi Purvanov yesterday that he was disappointed with a Libyan court decision to reimpose the death sentences on Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor accused of infecting Libyan children with the HIV virus.

Mr. Bush spoke with Mr. Purvanov on the phone about the Dec. 19 decision, expressing his strong support for Bulgaria’s efforts to secure the release of the medics, a spokesman for the National Security Council said.

A Tripoli court Tuesday convicted the nurses and a Palestinian doctor, sentencing them to death despite scientific evidence the youngsters had the virus before the medical workers arrived in Libya.

IRAQ

3 U.S. troops die; suicide bomb kills 14

BAGHDAD — Three more American servicemen have died in Iraq, the U.S. military said yesterday.

The U.S. military said a Marine assigned to 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division died yesterday in Anbar province, west of Baghdad. A soldier assigned to Regimental Combat Team 7 died Tuesday. A roadside bomb Wednesday killed an American soldier and wounded three south of the Iraqi capital.

Meanwhile, a suicide bomber blew up in the middle of a group of police volunteers in eastern Baghdad early in the day, killing at least 14 persons and wounding 21.

BRITAIN

Man, 48, charged in prostitute killings

LONDON — A British man was charged yesterday with murdering five prostitutes in eastern England within a time frame of a few weeks, police said.

Steven Wright, 48, is accused of killing the women whose nude bodies were found dumped in rural locations around the town of Ipswich.

A second man, questioned by police since Monday, was released pending further investigation.

CUBA

Raul Castro says Fidel ‘irreplaceable’

HAVANA — Cuba’s provisional leader Raul Castro said in comments published yesterday he will delegate more duties and give fewer speeches than his “irreplaceable” brother Fidel, and further signaled a new leadership style by encouraging more public debate.

Showing that he may be more open to divergent opinions than his ailing 80-year-old brother, Raul Castro, 75, told a group of about 800 young communist university leaders they should “fearlessly” engage in public debate and analysis, the Communist Party newspaper Granma said.

The elder Mr. Castro stepped aside almost five months ago after emergency intestinal surgery. He was last seen in public on July 26, and his exact medical condition hasn’t been disclosed.

BRITAIN

Charles wins battle over leaked diary

LONDON — Britain’s Prince Charles yesterday won the latest round in a legal battle with a newspaper over the unauthorized publication of his private journals, in which he called Chinese diplomats “appalling old waxworks.”

Two senior Court of Appeal judges upheld an earlier ruling that the heir to the throne has a right to keep his diaries secret.

The tabloid Mail on Sunday published excerpts covering a trip to Asia for the 1997 transfer of Hong Kong to China. The judges dismissed claims that the publication was in the public interest.

INDONESIA

Terrorism conviction of cleric overturned

JAKARTA — Indonesia overturned a terrorism conviction yesterday of militant Islamic cleric Abu Bakar Bashir, who served 21/2 years for conspiracy in the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings that killed more than 200 people.

The Supreme Court ruling is likely to anger the United States and regional ally Australia, both of which publicly accused the 69-year-old cleric of being a top leader of Jemaah Islamiyah, an al Qaeda-linked Southeast Asian terrorist group.

NORWAY

Munch’s ‘Scream’ damaged in theft

OSLO — Specialists fear that theft damage to Edvard Munch’s painting “The Scream,” one of the world’s most famous images, may be too extensive to completely repair, according to a report to be released today.

The painting and another Munch masterpiece, “Madonna,” were recovered by police in August, two years after being stolen from Oslo’s Munch Museum by masked gunmen in a daylight heist on Aug. 22, 2004. Police have refused to say how they recovered the works of art or where they had been for the two years.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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