- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 29, 2006


Government falls in citizenship debacle

AMSTERDAM — Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende said his three-year-old government will resign today after his coalition split over the citizenship case of a Somali-born lawmaker.

The political turmoil began last month when Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk threatened to revoke the passport of Somali-born lawmaker Ayaan Hirsi Ali, after the legislator admitted to falsifying her name to escape an arranged marriage when she applied for asylum in 1992.

Miss Hirsi Ali, 36, resigned her seat, but parliament ordered Mrs. Verdonk to reconsider her decision. On Tuesday, Mrs. Verdonk reversed it, citing a legal loophole.


Suicide bomber hits funeral

KIRKUK — A suicide car bomber rammed into a funeral service for a Shi’ite soldier and killed four persons in the Iraqi northern city of Kirkuk yesterday, police said.

The bomber, who died in the attack, targeted a funeral for an Iraqi soldier killed two days ago. The blast wounded 27.


Peace talks with ETA begin

MADRID — Spain officially announced the start of peace negotiations with the Basque separatist group ETA after formally informing parliament yesterday, and the prime minister warned that talks to end decades of bloodshed would be long and difficult.

The talks had been widely expected since ETA declared a permanent cease-fire on March 22.


Railway ready to link Tibet

BEIJING — The first railway to Tibet is ready to start operation this weekend, using sealed, oxygenated cars to cope with the thin air and high-tech cooling to keep the frozen track bed stable, China’s Railway Ministry said yesterday.

The $4.2 billion rail line, which took four years to build, links Tibet’s capital of Lhasa to Golmud, a small city in Qinghai province already connected to China’s vast rail network.

China says the project, which leaders have dreamed of building since the 1950s, will help develop the poor, restive western region. Critics say it is part of a larger campaign by Beijing to crush Tibetan culture by allowing a huge influx of Han Chinese migrants.


4 hanged for rape of Christian woman

MULTAN — Four Pakistani men were hanged yesterday for gang-raping a Christian woman at gunpoint during a 1999 robbery, a jail official said.

Police arrested the men, all Muslim, shortly after attacking the woman in Faisalabad, an industrial city about 180 miles east of Multan, a main city in Punjab province. There appeared to be no sectarian motive for the crime.


Khmer Rouge general admitted to hospital

PHNOM PENH — The former military chief of the Khmer Rouge communist movement, Ta Mok, was hospitalized yesterday with various illnesses, his attorney said, raising doubt about whether he ever will be able to stand trial.

Ta Mok, 82, has been suffering from high blood pressure, stomach pains and coughing for the past week, said his attorney, Benson Samay.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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