- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 11, 2006

ITALY

Berlusconi indictment sought in graft case

ROME — Authorities in Milan said yesterday they are seeking the indictment of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on corruption charges, the latest in a series of attempts to prosecute the conservative Italian leader and media magnate.

Mr. Berlusconi’s aides accused prosecutors of trying to influence national elections that are a month away. A judge could take weeks to decide on the indictment request.

Mr. Berlusconi is accused of ordering the payment in 1997 of at least $600,000 to British lawyer David Mills — whose indictment also was being sought — in exchange for the lawyer’s false testimony in two trials against Mr. Berlusconi. Both men deny the charges.

PAKISTAN

Land mine kills 28 on way to wedding

QUETTA — Twenty-eight persons traveling to a wedding in southwest Pakistan were killed yesterday when their vehicle hit a land mine near the country’s main natural gas fields.

The blast happened in Dera Bugti district of Baluchistan province. Authorities blamed autonomy-seeking militants for planting the mine.

IRAQ

Abu Ghraib prison to be warehouse

BAGHDAD — Abu Ghraib prison, a symbol of terror for Iraqis under Saddam Hussein that later became notorious for the abuse of prisoners by U.S. guards, is to be turned into a warehouse, Iraq’s justice minister said yesterday.

The U.S. military said Thursday it planned to end its operations at the prison in three months. Some U.S. officials suggested Iraqi authorities might continue to use it as a jail. But Justice Minister Abd al-Hussein Shandel told Reuters news agency it will just be used as “a storage facility for the Justice Ministry.”

SERBIA-MONTENEGRO

Ex-guerrilla elected Kosovo prime minister

PRISTINA — Former guerrilla leader Agim Ceku, accused by Serbia of war crimes, was elected prime minister of Kosovo yesterday.

The 120-seat parliament voted 65-33 to endorse Mr. Ceku, 45, a former senior commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army in the 1998-99 Albanian guerrilla war for independence from Serbia.

Serbia, which opened talks with the Kosovo Albanians last month on the future of the U.N.-run province, had demanded that Kosovo’s U.N. governor block the election of Mr. Ceku.

BRITAIN

Tycoon faced probe before drowning

LONDON — Robert Maxwell, the British media tycoon who mysteriously drowned 15 years ago, was being investigated at the time for purportedly committing a war crime as a British soldier by killing an unarmed German civilian during World War II, police said yesterday.

Police had begun questioning members of the former army captain’s platoon and were preparing a possible case against Mr. Maxwell only weeks before his death, according to information released to the Independent newspaper under the Freedom of Information Act.

INDIA

Dalai Lama wants to visit China

DHARAMSALA, India — The Dalai Lama said yesterday he has asked China to let him to visit the country for the first time since he fled Tibet nearly a half-century ago.

His comments came in an address to thousands of followers on the anniversary of the 1959 uprising in Tibet against Chinese rule, which marked the beginning of his exile.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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