- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 8, 2006

BRITAIN

Parliament protester raises anthrax scare

LONDON — Police arrested a protester who threw a white powder in Britain’s Parliament yesterday, triggering a security alert in a country still on edge 11 months after suicide bombers killed dozens in the capital.

Exits from the Parliament in central London were sealed off while police checked the substance, but the alert ended when police determined that the powder was harmless.

One police officer, who declined to be named, said fears were raised that the powder could be anthrax. The protester threw the powder over the black-and-white marble floor of the central lobby, an area where members of Parliament and the public rub shoulders.

GAZA STRIP

Hamas agrees to pull out militia

GAZA CITY — The Hamas-led government agreed yesterday to withdraw a private militia from public areas of the Gaza Strip in an agreement with the rival Fatah movement aimed at halting weeks of bloody infighting.

The black-clad Hamas militia has been at the center of the power struggle.

“They are going to be in places away from the public. They are not going to be visible to people,” official spokesman Ghazi Hamad said. Under the arrangement, the militia is to be folded into the official Palestinian police force, he said.

IRAQ

600 prisoners freed to appease Sunnis

BAGHDAD — Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki released nearly 600 detainees yesterday, making good on a pledge intended to ease feuding between Sunni Arabs and Shi’ites.

The detainees were the first of 2,000 prisoners who Mr. al-Maliki promised would be freed from Iraq’s most notorious prisons in an apparent effort to ease anger among minority Sunnis over accusations of arbitrary detentions and mistreatment of prisoners.

EUROPEAN UNION

Collusion reported in CIA detainee web

PARIS — More than 20 countries, including several in Europe, colluded in a “global spider’s web” of secret CIA prisons and flight transfers of terrorist suspects stretching from Central Asia to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a European rights watchdog said yesterday.

Council of Europe investigator Dick Marty said in the report that he had amassed a great deal of circumstantial evidence of secret CIA detention centers but conceded that he had “no formal evidence.”

The United States, which maintained its position of neither denying nor confirming the accusations, challenged the credibility of the council’s report on the issue.

The report said Poland and Romania ran secret detention centers; Germany, Turkey, Spain, Cyprus and Azerbaijan were “staging points” for flights involving the unlawful transfer of detainees; Ireland, Britain, Portugal, Greece and Italy were “stopovers” for refueling for flights involving the unlawful transfer of detainees; and Sweden, Bosnia, Britain, Macedonia, Germany and Turkey handed over suspects.

NETHERLANDS

Businessman convicted of selling arms

THE HAGUE — A court yesterday convicted a businessman of violating a U.N. arms embargo imposed on the regime of former Liberian President Charles Taylor and sentenced him to eight years in prison.

The court, however, acquitted Guus Kouwenhoven of war-crimes charges.

It found that Kouwenhoven, 64, had traded guns for timber rights and used his company to smuggle weapons used by militias to commit atrocities against civilians in West Africa.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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