- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 15, 2006

ISRAEL

Sharon’s son jailed in funds scandal

JERUSALEM — An Israeli court sentenced Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s son to nine months in prison yesterday over the illegal funding of his father’s 1999 campaign to head the right-wing Likud Party.

But the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court delayed the start of Omri Sharon’s jail term for six months out of deference to his father, who has been comatose since a Jan. 4 stroke from which he is not expected to recover.

Omri Sharon, 41, entered into a plea bargain to try to cut his sentence. Counts against him — perjury, fraud and breach of trust — carried a maximum penalty of seven years behind bars.

His attorney said he would appeal the nine-month sentence. Attorney General Menachem Mazuz dropped a related probe against Ariel Sharon last year citing lack of evidence.

BRITAIN

2 more arrested in Iraq abuse tape

LONDON — British military police have arrested two more persons in connection with a videotape that appears to show British soldiers beating protesters after a demonstration in southern Iraq, the Ministry of Defense said yesterday.

A total of three persons have been arrested since the tape surfaced Sunday.

VENEZUELA

U.S. evangelicals lose court appeal

CARACAS — Venezuela’s top court yesterday upheld a government decision against a U.S. evangelical group that President Hugo Chavez had ordered out of the country last year after accusing them of spying.

Venezuela’s Supreme Court rejected an appeal filed by the New Tribes Mission to block a government order that revoked a 1953 permit, allowing them to carry out evangelical work in the country’s indigenous communities.

Mr. Chavez, a fierce opponent of the U.S. government, ordered the New Tribes out in October, just days after conservative U.S. preacher the Rev. Pat Robertson accused him of funding Osama bin Laden and seeking nuclear material from Iran.

BOLIVIA

President to stay coca-farmers chief

LA PAZ — Bolivian President Evo Morales will accept the renomination as the leader of the country’s main coca growers federation, his spokesman said yesterday.

“For any leader, no matter what his job, it is a privilege,” Alex Contreras told Agence France-Presse, noting that the federation, which represents 45,000 coca-growing families, chose Mr. Morales for a new, two-year term by consensus, without a vote at a meeting in Cochabamba.

INDONESIA

2 Australians get death in drug case

BALI — Two Australians were sentenced yesterday to death by firing squad for leading a drug smuggling ring on Indonesia’s resort island of Bali.

Andrew Chan, 22, and Myuran Sukumaran, 24 — who masterminded the trafficking of 18 pounds of heroin to their homeland — showed little emotion as their verdicts were read in a packed courtroom.

Four other members of the so-called “Bali Nine” have been given life sentences.

BRITAIN

Lawmakers back ban on smoking

LONDON — The British Parliament yesterday approved a total ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces in England, after similar moves in Ireland and other European countries.

The blanket ban — which goes into force in mid-2007 and applies to smoking in pubs, bars, private clubs, restaurants and workplaces — heralds a major change in Britain, where one in four adults lights up.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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