- The Washington Times - Monday, July 24, 2006

LIBYA

Gadhafi came close to nukes

TRIPOLI — Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, whose country abandoned weapons of mass destruction programs in 2003, said that at one stage Libya had come close to building a nuclear bomb, the Libyan news agency reported yesterday.

“It is true that Libya came close to building a nuclear bomb. This is no longer a secret … as everything was laid bare by the International Atomic [Energy] Agency for everyone to see,” the agency quoted Col. Gadhafi as saying Sunday in a speech to Libyan engineers.

It was the first time any Libyan official has confirmed that it had been trying to build a nuclear bomb.

CANADA

Bail granted to 3rd terror suspect

TORONTO — A Canadian teenager arrested on charges that he was involved in an al Qaeda-inspired plot to blow up targets in Canada yesterday became the third suspect in the case to be freed on bail.

Lawyer Michael Block, whose client cannot be named under Canadian law because he is younger than 18, said a judge granted bail after deliberating for nearly two weeks.

“It’s a mildly audacious kind of decision because of the notoriety of the circumstances,” Mr. Block told Reuters. “What it means is that my client is not going to serve a sentence even before it’s determined whether he’s guilty or not.”

Police think the youth is part of a group that is reputed to have discussed storming the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa and detonating bombs at targets in downtown Toronto.

NORTH KOREA

Crop losses pose wider food gap

SEOUL — Heavy rains in North Korea have destroyed tens of thousands of acres of crops, threatening to worsen the impoverished country’s food shortage, an agency of the United Nations said yesterday.

Flooding that damaged about 74,000 acres of arable land could lead to the loss of 100,000 metric tons of food, the World Food Program reported. The estimated loss equals about 10 percent of the gap in the country’s annual food supply, said Paul Risely, WFP’s Asia spokesman.

“This is a real danger,” Mr. Risely said. The flood damage “will increase the already substantial food gap in the harvest figures coming up for North Korea.”

BELARUS

Chavez visits European dictator

MINSK — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez hailed the man dubbed “Europe’s last dictator” yesterday as he started an international tour by visiting the authoritarian leader of the isolated former Soviet nation of Belarus.

Mr. Chavez, a former army lieutenant colonel and a frequent critic of the Bush administration, was greeted with hugs and smiles by President Alexander Lukashenko at the presidential palace in Minsk.

Mr. Lukashenko, like Mr. Chavez, accuses the United States of trying to overthrow him.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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