- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 26, 2006


Paper says Mossad tried to kill bin Laden

JERUSALEM — Israel’s Mossad spy service and a foreign counterpart enlisted a confidant of Osama bin Laden to kill the al Qaeda leader in 1996 but the plan fell apart over a political dispute, a newspaper said yesterday.

Mossad picked up bin Laden’s trail while helping U.S. and Egyptian agents probe an attempt by Islamist militants on the life of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak as he visited Ethiopia, Yediot Ahronot reported.

The newspaper said a woman was meant to kill bin Laden, but the mission was aborted after ties between Israel and her country broke down over Israeli-Palestinian tensions.


Harper chides U.S. over claims to Arctic

OTTAWA — Prime Minister-elect Stephen Harper blasted Washington’s denial of Canada’s Arctic sovereignty yesterday, dampening expectations that his new Conservative government would seek closer U.S. ties.

Canada’s first conservative prime minister in 12 years was expected to try to improve the sometimes-tense relations that outgoing Prime Minister Paul Martin had with Washington.

But in his first public address yesterday, Mr. Harper chided U.S. Ambassador David Wilkins for lambasting his plans to bolster Canada’s Arctic military presence.

“The United States defends its sovereignty. The Canadian government will defend our sovereignty,” he told reporters outside the House of Commons.


U.S. mission accused of recruiting spies

CARACAS — A top Venezuelan army commander charged the U.S. Embassy yesterday with contacting Venezuelan military officers and asking them to provide state secrets to the Pentagon.

Armed Forces Inspector Gen. Melvin Lopez said naval authorities were probing the case. Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel told reporters that several officers were passing state secrets to the U.S.


Leader’s sweater is an Internet hit

LA PAZ — Newly elected Bolivian President Evo Morales’ striped sweater is making another world tour — this time on the Internet.

La Paz-based online shop BoliviaMall.com said yesterday customers in more than 20 countries have bought replicas of the alpaca sweater that shot to fame when Mr. Morales wore it on a tour this month.


Britain to send 4,000 more troops

LONDON — Britain will send at least another 4,000 troops — four times its current deployment — to Afghanistan in coming months.

Britain now has about 1,000 troops in Afghanistan. That would peak at about 5,700 after it assumes command of the NATO mission in May, but drop to less than 4,700 by July, Defense Secretary John Reid said.

The deployment comes as NATO expands its peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan from 9,000 to about 16,000 troops. Canada has promised 2,200 troops, but the Dutch parliament has yet to approve a promise of about 1,200.


Probe panel mulls calling U.S. officials

BRUSSELS — A European Parliament investigation into purported CIA secret prisons could ask Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to testify, although it has no legal power to subpoena them, a member of the panel said yesterday.

“Very senior people” would be asked to answer the accusations of human rights violations on EU territory, said Sarah Ludford, vice president of the investigation being conducted by the parliament.


Talks on assembly set for next month

DUBLIN — Britain and Dublin will make another attempt to revive Northern Ireland’s provincial assembly with a fresh round of talks next month, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said yesterday.

The power-sharing body was established under the 1998 Good Friday peace deal that ended more than 30 years of violence in the British province but was suspended in a dispute about spying in 2002.


Upper house OKs gay civil unions

PRAGUE — The Czech Republic came close to legalizing civil partnerships for homosexual couples yesterday when the upper house of parliament approved legislation providing for such unions.

The law has succeeded in both houses of parliament after backing from Social Democrat Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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