- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 16, 2006


Envoys report progress on Iran

NEW YORK — U.N. Security Council envoys yesterday reported progress for the first time in tackling Iran’s nuclear ambitions, but the United States acknowledged that differences remained.

China appeared to be more flexible on a draft council statement, but Russia was said to hang tough on how involved the Security Council should be in Tehran’s nuclear program, which the West thinks is a cover for making bombs, two envoys close to the talks said.

Still, U.S. Ambassador John R. Bolton told reporters, “I would describe today’s meeting as the best we have had so far. There are still areas of disagreement … but I am very encouraged.”


U.S. opens probe into 15 civilians’ deaths

U.S. defense officials in Washington disclosed yesterday that an investigation has begun into a firefight between U.S. Marines and insurgents last year that left 15 Iraqi civilians dead.

The inquiry will attempt to determine whether the Marines acted appropriately when they fired back at insurgents after a roadside bomb attack in Haditha, near Baghdad, in November, said a military official who requested anonymity because the investigation has not been announced yet.

The civilians were hit during that battle.


Official urges EU push for Gitmo closure

BRUSSELS — The United Nations’ top anti-torture official called on the European Union yesterday to increase pressure on the United States to close the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.

Manfred Nowak, the U.N. special rapporteur on torture and one of the authors of a report on Guantanamo last month, said the detainees there should be either rapidly put on trial or immediately released.

“I hope the European Union will take up our main recommendation in their dialogue with the USA,” he told reporters in Brussels, home of the main institutions of the 25-nation bloc.

“The main recommendation is to close as quickly as possible the Guantanamo Bay detention facility because … further detention of all those detainees is illegal under international human rights law.”


Milosevic’s coffin displayed at museum

BELGRADE — Slobodan Milosevic’s flag-draped coffin went on public display yesterday, and hundreds of tearful supporters paid their last respects to the former Yugoslav president who died while on trial on war-crimes charges.

A large, framed color photograph of Mr. Milosevic was placed in front of the casket in a red-carpeted room inside Belgrade’s Museum of Revolution, a gallery once devoted to former Yugoslav dictator Josip Broz Tito. Not all were happy.

“I strongly protest as a director, person and citizen of this country, and call on the public and the Serbian government to react against a violation of cultural autonomy and the political use of a cultural institution,” said Ljiljana Cetinic, the director of the communist-era museum.

Mr. Milosevic died March 11 at a U.N. detention center in the Netherlands near the war-crimes tribunal that was trying him on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity.


Mandela recalls pig-stealing days

CAPE TOWN — World leaders have their faults, former South African President Nelson Mandela said yesterday, regaling the cast of an Oscar-winning gangster movie with tales of his own teenage years as a pig thief.

“All of us were very mischievous in our younger days,” he said after meeting with the cast of “Tsotsi.” “You know, we had a method as young chaps of about 16 or 17 of stealing pigs.”

South Africa’s first Academy Award-winning film, “Tsotsi” portrays a violent young gangster’s journey of redemption after stealing a car and shooting its owner, only to discover a baby in the back seat.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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