- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 26, 2006

UKRAINE

Assembly to defy order to dissolve

KIEV — Ukraine’s parliament will disobey any decree from President Viktor Yushchenko to dissolve it, the speaker said, setting the stage for a constitutional crisis if Mr. Yushchenko exercises his right to call new elections.

Mr. Yushchenko yesterday acquired the right to dissolve parliament — an option he says he may use to stop the opposition majority in the chamber from forcing him to accept his rival Viktor Yanukovych as prime minister.

If Mr. Yushchenko should decide to dissolve parliament, he could drag Ukraine into a crisis similar to the one in neighboring Russia in 1993, when President Boris Yeltsin ordered tanks to shell a rebel parliament, said Speaker Oleksandr Moroz.

BURMA

‘God’s Army’ leader surrenders to regime

RANGOON — One of two young twin brothers who led a small band of ethnic rebels calling themselves “God’s Army” has surrendered to Burma’s military government, state radio and television reported yesterday.

Johnny Htoo and eight fellow members of the group left a refugee camp in Thailand earlier this month and surrendered with their weapons in two groups on July 17 and last Wednesday at the coastal region military command in southeastern Burma, according to the reports.

Johnny Htoo and his brother Luther in the late 1990s were charismatic leaders of a small band of ethnic Karen Christian rebels in eastern Burma fighting the country’s military regime. Devout Christians, they were reputed by followers to be invulnerable to bullets and land mines.

IRELAND

IRA adhering to commitments

DUBLIN — The outlawed Irish Republican Army is observing its peace commitments and is not an obstacle to a revived Roman Catholic-Protestant administration for Northern Ireland, the British and Irish governments declared yesterday in their most optimistic comments on the subject.

Leaders of both governments lauded IRA commanders and said they no longer were planning violence or illegal activity of any kind.

Peter Hain, the British secretary of state for Northern Ireland, and Irish Justice Minister Michael McDowell said Protestants no longer could cite IRA activity as a reason for refusing to cooperate with Sinn Fein, the IRA-linked party representing most Catholics in Northern Ireland.

PAKISTAN

Clerics seek ban on female aid workers

MANSEHRA — Muslim clerics in Pakistan’s conservative North-West Frontier Province want local authorities to expel all women working for international relief agencies in earthquake-affected areas by the end of this month.

The clerics accuse the women, including Pakistanis employed by foreign nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), of dressing improperly, mixing with men and drinking alcohol, which is banned in Islamic Pakistan.

“We are not against the NGOs, but we are against them spreading obscenity in society and trying to weaken our faith by corrupting our women,” Moazzam Ali Shah, head of Tehreek-e-Islaha Muashra, or Movement to Cleanse Society, told the Reuters news agency.

MEXICO

Four killed in drug heist

MEXICO CITY — Gunmen in Mexico bound and killed three security guards and a policeman Monday before escaping with more than a ton of pseudoephedrine, a drug used to brew illegal narcotics.

After tricking their way past the laboratory’s security gates before dawn, the thieves taped their victims’ eyes and mouths closed and tied their hands behind their backs with plastic strips before shooting them in the head, according to a police report.

They emptied 40 barrels of pseudoephedrine, used as a decongestant in allergy and cold medicine but also a key ingredient in the illegal manufacture of methamphetamine, into one of the company’s trucks before driving away with it.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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