- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 28, 2006

IRAQ

Saddam faces trial in Kurdish genocide

BAGHDAD — Saddam Hussein and his former top army commanders will go on trial on Aug. 21 on charges of killing tens of thousands of Iraq’s Kurds in 1988 in a military operation to force them from their villages.

Kurds, whose northern region is still haunted by the seven-month Anfal campaign, have long sought justice and want the former president to face the death penalty, as he does in an ongoing trial over the killing of Shi’ites.

Chief prosecutor Jaafar al-Moussawi said seven defendants, including Saddam’s cousin Ali Hassan al-Majid or “Chemical Ali,” would stand trial in the new case.

VIETNAM

Southern reformers to lead country

HANOI — Three decades after the communist north reunited the country with its victory in the Vietnam War, reformers from the business-oriented south were named prime minister and president yesterday.

Nguyen Tan Dung, 56, became Vietnam’s youngest prime minister since reunification in 1975. He had long been groomed for the job, building a record of fostering growth in recent years when he oversaw the economy as deputy prime minister.

The National Assembly also endorsed the nominee for president, Nguyen Minh Triet, 63, the Communist Party chief for Ho Chi Minh City who is known for his tough stance against corruption.

VATICAN CITY

Delegation visits Beijing amid strains

VATICAN CITY — A Vatican delegation is meeting government officials in Beijing this week amid strains over China’s installation of bishops without the Roman Catholic Church’s approval, a religious news agency said yesterday.

AsiaNews said Archbishop Claudio Celli is leading the delegation that arrived Sunday for a weeklong visit to meet “various figures” of the Chinese government.

Relations between the Vatican and Beijing reached a new low last month when Pope Benedict XVI censured China for installing two bishops without the Holy See’s approval.

IRAN

Ayatollah sees no need for talks

TEHRAN — Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran, said the country does “not need” talks with the United States over the former’s nuclear program because nothing would be gained, state television reported yesterday.

Ayatollah Khamenei, who has the final word on all state matters, did not give his position on a package of incentives offered by the West to persuade Iran to impose a long-term moratorium on the enrichment of uranium.

THE NETHERLANDS

Loophole lets lawmaker stay

THE HAGUE — It was all a mistake and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somalian-born former lawmaker known for her criticism of fundamentalist Islam, can retain her Dutch citizenship after all.

The ruling yesterday by Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk reversed a politically divisive decision of six weeks earlier, when Mrs. Verdonk announced that Miss Hirsi Ali’s 1997 naturalization was invalid because she lied on her asylum application.

That decision created an uproar in parliament. Yesterday, Mrs. Verdonk said Miss Hirsi Ali did not lie when she created a new identity for herself on her asylum application because she used a legitimate name — her grandfather’s — under the law of her homeland.

GERMANY

Fischer leaves political stage

BERLIN — Former Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, a high-school dropout who became one of Germany’s most popular and colorful politicians, announced yesterday that he was leaving German politics for good.

Mr. Fischer, 58, said he would relinquish his seat in the German parliament at the end of the summer and had accepted a position at Princeton University, where he is expected to teach a course on crisis diplomacy in the fall.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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