- The Washington Times - Monday, February 27, 2006

JAMAICA

Woman to become next prime minister

KINGSTON — Cabinet minister Portia Simpson Miller is set to become Jamaica’s first female prime minister after being elected president of the nation’s ruling political party.

Mrs. Simpson Miller, 60, beat three others to become leader of the 68-year-old People’s National Party in an emotionally charged election among 3,808 party delegates Saturday evening.

She will be appointed prime minister when incumbent P.J. Patterson retires. Mr. Patterson, 70, who is midway though his third five-year term, said last year that he would step down before the start of the next legislative year on April 1.

THAILAND

Protesters demand Thaksin’s resignation

BANGKOK— Tens of thousands of protesters yesterday demanded that Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra resign as opposition parties called for a meeting with the embattled leader to discuss political reforms.

Mr. Thaksin dissolved parliament Friday in a move that forced national elections three years early and guarantees a showdown with political opponents who have accused him of corruption.

The three main opposition parties have spoken about boycotting elections, which Mr. Thaksin’s Thai Rak Thai party would almost certainly win because of its popularity with rural voters.

AFGHANISTAN

Taliban, al Qaeda blamed in prison riot

KABUL — Hundreds of Afghan soldiers with tanks and grenade-launchers surrounded Kabul’s main prison yesterday after rioting inmates seized control of much of the facility.

Journalists reported that several people were killed and dozens injured in an uprising that officials blamed on al Qaeda and Taliban militants. But security forces could not confirm reports of casualties.

Officials said the violence began when inmates refused to put on new uniforms, which were ordered after seven Taliban prisoners escaped last month by disguising themselves as visitors.

SOMALIA

Interim parliament meets on home soil

BAIDOA — Somalia’s interim parliament held a session inside the anarchic country for the first time yesterday and President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed urged deputies to make national security their priority.

Prime Minister Mohamed Ali Gedi flew into the south-central city of Baidoa to join the president and parliament speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan for a meeting many say is the last hope for a divided administration paralyzed for more than a year.

It is the 14th attempt to restore central government to Somalia, whose last national president was ousted by militias in 1991, ushering in an era of anarchy.

PHILIPPINES

Marines stage protest in coup aftermath

MANILA — About 100 elite troops briefly defied the government and its emergency rule yesterday, calling for public support after the Marine commander was removed over an purported plot to oust President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The Marines returned to barracks peacefully after staging a show of support for their ousted chief, in full battle gear and with three armored personnel carriers, at their base in Manila.

Col. Tristan Kison, the military spokesman, said there were no unauthorized troop movements in Manila.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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