- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 25, 2006

MEXICO

Four policemen killed in widening violence

MEXICO CITY — Kidnappers killed four policemen in southern Mexico, gagging and shooting three and beheading another in the latest attack on officers ahead of the presidential election next week, officials said yesterday.

Local police said the four were kidnapped last week in a remote part of Guerrero state, which has become a key front in a battle between drug traffickers and the government. A police spokesman said a drug gang was thought to be behind the killings.

Attacks on police have risen ahead of Mexico’s presidential election, slated for Sunday.

Last week, three police officers and a fourth man were decapitated in the drug-plagued city of Tijuana on the U.S. border, their heads dumped miles apart from their bodies.

SOUTH KOREA

Japan issues warning against missile test

SEOUL — Japan warned yesterday that it would consider “all options” against North Korea, including sanctions on oil and food sales, if the reclusive communist country goes ahead with a test launch of a long-range missile that could reach the United States.

The United States, Japan and other countries have been weighing options to try to head off a missile launch, and Washington and Tokyo have made clear that sanctions are an option if North Korea refuses to cooperate.

In Pyongyang, “hundreds of thousands” of North Koreans marked the anniversary of the 1950 start of the Korean War by “denouncing the U.S. imperialists, the sworn enemy of the Korean people,” according to the North’s official Korean Central News Agency.

PAKISTAN

Fugitive Taliban chief appears in videotape

ISLAMABAD — Fugitive Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar said the coalition and the Afghan government do not have the wisdom to solve the crisis in Afghanistan, according to an audio tape aired yesterday by a Pakistani television station.

The tape, which was obtained by the independent Pakistani Geo TV, apparently was made during a recent meeting of Taliban leaders in the southern Afghan province of Helmand, the network said. The tape’s authenticity could not be confirmed.

“They cannot solve the issue of Afghanistan based on their wisdom and thinking,” said a speaker on the tape, who Geo said was Mullah Omar.

RUSSIA

Capital named most expensive city

MOSCOW — Moscow has eclipsed Tokyo as the world’s most expensive city, a survey finds.

The Russian capital moved up three spots from a year ago, thanks to a recent property boom, according to a survey by New York-based Mercer Human Resource Consulting, while the Japanese capital slipped to third place because of the weaker yen. South Korea’s Seoul ranked second on the list, up from fifth last year.

New York — ranked No. 10 worldwide — remains North America’s costliest city.

JORDAN

Attorney says Saddam could end insurgency

AMMAN — Saddam Hussein thinks the United States will have to seek his help to quell the bloody insurgency in Iraq and open the way for U.S. forces to withdraw, his chief attorney said yesterday.

Khalil al-Dulaimi said the ousted leader is the key to returning stability to Iraq. “He’s their last resort. They’re going to knock at his door eventually,” the attorney said. Saddam is “the only person who can stop the resistance against the U.S. troops.”

There is no indication that U.S. officials have considered seeking Saddam’s help.

IRAN

EU’s Solana to visit to explain proposal

TEHRAN — Javier Solana, the foreign policy chief of the European Union, will visit Tehran shortly to discuss details of a package aimed at persuading the Islamic republic to abandon its nuclear fuel program, a senior official said.

Mr. Solana delivered the package, which is backed by the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China, in a visit to Tehran earlier this month. He has said he will hold further discussions over what Iran has described as “ambiguities.”

“Solana’s visit to Iran is imminent. We will discuss the offered package,” Ali Larijani, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, was quoted by the official Islamic Republic News Agency.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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