- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 7, 2006


Victims’ kin ransack ferry firm office

SAFAGA — Angry Egyptians seeking news of relatives lost aboard the ferry that sank in the Red Sea last week ransacked the office of the vessel’s owners yesterday and set fire to the furniture, witnesses said.

Police fired tear gas to drive away the chanting crowd, and firefighters were brought in to douse the flames.

The Al-Salaam Boccaccio 98 ferry carrying 1,414 persons sank early Friday during a voyage from Saudi Arabia to Safaga on the Egyptian Red Sea coast. A government spokesman said 244 have been found dead, 388 survived and more than 700 persons are not accounted for and feared dead.


Conservatives take office

TORONTO — Stephen Harper, who promises to mend Canada’s frayed relations with the United States, was sworn in as the nation’s 22nd prime minister yesterday, marking the first time in more than 12 years that the Conservative Party will rule this traditionally liberal nation.

The 46-year-old economist has pledged to cut taxes and clean up government corruption. He takes over from outgoing Liberal Party leader Paul Martin, whose 18 months of governing were marred by indecision and scandal.


Security chief warns of Jewish radicalism

JERUSALEM — Jewish radicals who take up arms pose a greater long-term problem to Israel than Arab militants, an Israeli security chief said in comments broadcast yesterday.

Shin Bet Director Yuval Diskin’s closed-door briefing to army cadets at a Jewish settlement in the West Bank was aired by Channel Ten television as ultranationalist anger simmered over expectations that more Israeli-occupied land will be ceded to the Palestinians.

When asked whether the Shin Bet’s counterterrorism department focuses too much on Jews, Mr. Diskin said he thought that the Israeli justice system favors suspected Jewish militants over Arabs held in similar cases.


$5 million pledged for safe abortions

LONDON — Britain pledged $5.25 million yesterday to a fund for safe abortion services in poor countries, and challenged the United States to follow suit.

International Development Minister Gareth Thomas said the cash would go toward kick-starting the Global Safe Abortion Program, which the Bush administration refuses to support.

The World Health Organization estimates that 70,000 women, who are mainly young and poor, suffer “agonizing” deaths at the hands of back-street abortionists in developing nations each year.


3,000 troops pulled out of Kashmir

NEW DELHI — India has withdrawn at least 3,000 troops from Jammu and Kashmir state as the level of violence in the insurgency-racked region has fallen, the country’s defense minister and army chief said yesterday.

Defense Minister Pranab Mukherjee described the movement of troops as a regular redeployment, saying it involved only a brigade. Earlier government and military officials said a total of 15,000 troops would be withdrawn.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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