- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 9, 2006


Church to apologize for slave trade

LONDON — The Church of England voted yesterday to acknowledge its complicity in the global slave trade and to urge governments to fight its modern equivalent: human trafficking.

The General Synod, a national assembly elected from the laity and clergy of each diocese, voted unanimously to commemorate the 200th anniversary next year of Britain’s abolition of slavery by apologizing to the descendants of slaves for the church’s role in the injustice.

The Rev. Simon Bessant told the synod before the 238-0 vote how the church’s Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts owned slave-holding sugar plantations in Barbados. He said slaves had the word “society” branded on their chests with a red-hot iron.

After emancipation, he said, compensation was paid to owners, not to slaves.


Britain to resume Sinn Fein funding

LONDON — Britain’s House of Commons voted yesterday in favor of boosting British taxpayer funding to Sinn Fein, the Irish Republican Army-linked party that was stripped of aid last year because of a massive Belfast bank robbery blamed on the IRA.

The 329-178 vote means Sinn Fein’s five members in the House of Commons, who refuse to take their seats because it requires an oath of allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II, will receive office expenses and other benefits worth an estimated $900,000 a year.

Prime Minister Tony Blair said Sinn Fein deserved to be rewarded for the IRA’s reconciliation efforts, including its decision in September to hand over the contents of its weapons bunkers to disarmament officials.


Dissident critical after hunger strike

HAVANA — A Cuban journalist was in critical condition at a hospital yesterday on the eighth day of a hunger strike protesting the communist regime’s Internet censorship, dissidents said.

Guillermo Farinas, 42, who heads the illegal Cubanacan news agency, was taken to Arnaldo Milian hospital in central Cuba, said human rights activist Elizardo Sanchez.

Mr. Farinas, who has been detained several times for his opposition to Fidel Castro’s regime, started the hunger strike after authorities cut off his access to the Internet.


Iran leader accepts Castro invitation

HAVANA — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has accepted an invitation to visit Cuba from President Fidel Castro, in gratitude for Cuba’s support of Iran’s nuclear program, the official Granma newspaper said Tuesday.

Mr. Ahmadinejad accepted the invitation in Tehran from Cuban Ambassador Felipe Perez Roque. During his visit, the Iranian leader will attend the Sept. 11-16 nonaligned summit in Havana.

On Saturday, Cuba joined Venezuela and Syria in voting against an International Atomic Energy Agency resolution to refer Iran to the U.N. Security Council over its suspected nuclear weapons program.


Election results expected tomorrow

BAGHDAD — Final certified results for Iraq’s Dec. 15 elections will be announced tomorrow, the nation’s election commission chief said.

Adil al-Lami said yesterday that a judicial commission investigating complaints about voting for some seats had completed its work, allowing the results to be announced.

Noncertified final results released last month showed that 128 of parliament’s 275 seats would go to the United Iraqi Alliance, the country’s dominant Shi’ite coalition. From wire dispatches and staff reports

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