- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 1, 2006


Castro embraces next Bolivian leader

HAVANA — Cuban President Fidel Castro and Bolivian President-elect Evo Morales say cooperation between their countries will bloom despite U.S. worries about more nations allying with communist Cuba and a growing leftward tilt in Latin American politics.

The two leaders late Friday announced a 30-month plan to erase illiteracy in Bolivia, the latest move by left-leaning South American leaders calling for increased cooperation among nations in the region without U.S. influence.

Cuba also agreed to offer free eye operations to up to 50,000 needy Bolivians as well as 5,000 full scholarships for young Bolivians to study medicine on the island.


Former envoy freed with family

SAN’A — Yemeni kidnappers released a former German ambassador to the United States and his four family members yesterday, the diplomat’s wife told the Associated Press.

“We are safe, thank God,” Magda Chrobogsaid as she flew to the southern port of Aden from eastern Yemen with her husband, Juergen, and their three children.

The family and three Yemeni assistants were kidnapped Wednesday when armed tribesmen stopped their two-car convoy on a remote mountain road in Shabwa province, east Yemen, where they were vacationing.

Juergen Chrobog, 65, was Germany’s ambassador to the United States in the 1990s. He served as deputy German foreign minister in the government of Gerhard Schroeder, who left office in November.


Tell-all envoy claims torture evidence

LONDON — A former British ambassador has published government documents he says prove that Britain knowingly received intelligence extracted under torture from prisoners in Uzbekistan.

Craig Murray, who was removed as ambassador to Uzbekistan after he went public about his concerns, defied a Foreign Office ban to publish the internal memos on his Web site Friday. The documents include memos to Foreign Office chiefs in which Mr. Murray expressed his concern over the use of “torture material.”

Uzbekistan has put more than 6,000 political prisoners in squalid jails, where dozens of people have reportedly died of torture over the past several years, rights groups have claimed.


Freed activist to remain in region

JERUSALEM — A British human rights activist released by Gaza kidnappers said yesterday she would stay in the region despite threats by militants to seize more foreigners.

Kate Burton, 25, and her parents, Hugh and Helen, were freed in Gaza late Friday. In a statement issued yesterday, the Burtons said they were treated “extremely well” during their ordeal, and they asked to be “left in peace to recover with close friends and relatives.”

Kate Burton said she “plans to stay in the region and continue working with the Palestinian people.”

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said the lawlessness, which has led to a spate of kidnappings and battles between Palestinian factions, would not derail parliamentary elections set for Jan. 25.


Death toll rises from police melee

CAIRO — Several Sudanese migrants injured when Egyptian police violently cleared a ramshackle camp died later from their wounds, raising the death toll from the clash to 25, a security official said yesterday.

Police using water cannons and swinging truncheons evicted more than 1,000 Sudanese men, women and children from a Cairo park early Friday, ending their three-month protest against the U.N. refugee agency’s refusal to consider them for refugee status.

The Interior Ministry said Friday that 12 protesters died and 74 policemen were injured, but other officials said 20 persons were killed.


Police crack down in Tamil areas

COLOMBO — Police and soldiers cordoned off five districts in the Sri Lankan capital and detained more than 900 people during door-to-door searches yesterday to track down Tamil Tiger rebels, police said.

The crackdown in the five predominantly Tamil districts of Colombo followed a spike in violence that has threatened to plunge the country back into civil war.

Forty-five soldiers have died this month in violence blamed on the rebels, who are seeking a homeland for the 3.2 million residents in the country’s ethnic-Tamil minority.

From wire dispatches and staff reports



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