- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 7, 2006

SOMALIA

Warlords resist Islamist control

MOGADISHU — Heavily armed Islamic gunmen and fighters loyal to a U.S.-backed warlord alliance faced each other in a tense standoff in Somalia yesterday after a Muslim militia claimed control of the lawless capital.

A day after the Islamists declared victory following four months of bloody battles with the alliance for control of Mogadishu, the city was fractured along clan lines with remaining warlords vowing not to bow to demands to surrender.

About 500 Muslim militiamen backed by more than 100 machine-gun mounted pickups were about six miles south of Jowhar in Kalinow village, they said.

A short distance away at the Kongo military base, an equal number of gunmen loyal to Mohamad Dheere — the warlord who controls Jowhar — readied for a potential onslaught, they said.

FRANCE

Veterans remember D-Day landings

ASNELLES-SUR-MER — American and British veterans marked the 62nd anniversary of the D-Day landings yesterday with ceremonies and talks to schoolchildren about the invasion that changed the course of World War II.

Hundreds of relatives and others joined at least two dozen veterans to remember the June 6, 1944, invasion on Normandy’s beaches that helped free France — and much of Europe — from Nazi Germany’s grip.

Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge joined the U.S. ambassador to France to lay a wreath at the American cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, where thousands of crosses and Stars of David mark soldiers’ graves on a finely groomed lawn.

At Utah Beach, where thousands of Americans stormed ashore, about 150 people gathered for a ceremony under blue skies to honor veterans from the 101st Airborne Division.

SUDAN

U.N. force for Darfur rejected for now

KHARTOUM — The Sudanese government told a high-level U.N. Security Council delegation yesterday that it would not give immediate approval for a U.N. peacekeeping force in Darfur but was willing to keep talking about a proposed takeover from African Union troops.

Senior representatives of the 15 Security Council nations met with Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, Foreign Minister Lam Akol and members of parliament on a visit to the capital, Khartoum. During closed-door meetings, they discussed at length the transfer of peacekeeping responsibilities from a 7,000-strong African Union mission that has been unable to quell fighting in Darfur to a more muscular U.N. force.

“There has been no agreement, and discussions continue,” Britain’s U.N. Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry, leader of the U.N. mission, said of a U.N. peacekeeping force for Darfur, which the United States favors.

FRANCE

Child deportation scaled back

PARIS — The French government said yesterday it would scale back plans to expel illegal alien families with children enrolled at French schools, after hundreds of teachers, parents and activists joined forces to block their deportation.

Hundreds of migrant families had been given the right to remain until the end of their children’s school year on June 30, when state officials are under instructions to arrest and steer them to the border.

Residence permits now will be granted on a case-by-case basis to families whose children were born or arrived at a “very young age” in France and who do not speak the language of their country of origin, Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy announced.

About 750 families, or 2,500 people, will have their cases reviewed by officials.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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