- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 24, 2006


Man linked to spy held in arms case

ROME — An Italian who met with an ex-KGB agent the day the Russian fell fatally ill from radiation poisoning was arrested yesterday, the man’s father said.

The accusations against Mario Scaramella — international arms trafficking and slander — were not directly related to the investigation into the poisoning death of Alexander Litvinenko.

Mr. Scaramella met Mr. Litvinenko at a London sushi bar on Nov. 1, the day the former KGB agent fell ill. Mr. Litvinenko died of poisoning from radioactive polonium-210 on Nov. 23.

Mr. Scaramella said he showed Mr. Litvinenko e-mails from a confidential source identifying the possible killers of Russian investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya and listing other potential targets for assassination — including himself and Mr. Litvinenko.


Pinochet justifies coup in last letter

SANTIAGO — In a letter to Chileans written to be published after his death, Gen. Augusto Pinochet said he wished he hadn’t had to stage the bloody 1973 coup that put him in power, and called the abuses under his long regime inevitable.

His fate was public shunning and unimagined loneliness, he said in the message made public yesterday.

The former dictator, who died Dec. 10 of heart failure at age 91, insisted the military takeover avoided civil war and a Marxist dictatorship, and said his 1973-90 regime never had “an institutional plan” to abuse human rights.

“But it was necessary to act with maximum rigor to avoid a widening of the conflict,” Gen. Pinochet wrote.

According to an official report, 3,197 persons were killed for political reasons in the 17 years after Gen. Pinochet overthrew elected Marxist President Salvador Allende on Sept. 11, 1973.


Channel rail tunnel seen as terror target

LONDON — Islamist militants want to attack the Channel Tunnel between England and France during the holiday season, a British newspaper reported yesterday, citing French and U.S. security sources.

The Observer said the French foreign intelligence service, DGSE, warned the French government of the threat in a Dec. 19 report after a tip from the CIA.


Lay funeral for man in euthanasia

ROME — Several thousand people, some chanting “shame, shame, shame,” attended a lay funeral in a Rome square yesterday for a paralyzed man who was denied a Catholic service because he had asked to die.

Pope Benedict XVI entered the debate over the death of Piergiorgio Welby by condemning euthanasia and saying life was sacred until its “natural sunset.”

Mr. Welby died Wednesday after a doctor gave him sedatives and detached a respirator that had kept the victim of advanced muscular dystrophy alive for years.


Air passengers stranded by delays

PARIS — Airline passengers were stranded for up to 24 hours at two French airports partly because of carry-on baggage security checks, airport sources said yesterday, while fog grounded thousands in Belgium.

About 150 passengers at France’s main international airport, Charles de Gaulle, north of the capital, and about 500 at Orly airport to the south saw their flights delayed as record Christmas crowds swamped terminals.

At Charleroi airport in southern Belgium, between 2,500 and 3,000 passengers, mostly families on holiday, were estimated to be stranded when fog grounded all 14 flights scheduled on yesterday.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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