- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 16, 2006

SERBIA-MONTENEGRO

Milosevic’s body arrives for burial

BELGRADE — The body of former President Slobodan Milosevic returned to his homeland yesterday as his supporters planned a funeral that raised fears that Serbian nationalists would use the ceremony to try to regain power.

Zoran Andjelkovic, a deputy leader of the Socialist Party, told the Associated Press that Mr. Milosevic’s remains will be laid to rest Saturday on the grounds of his family home in the gritty industrial town of Pozarevac, about 30 miles southeast of Belgrade.

Serbia’s government refused to hold a state funeral for Mr. Milosevic, but his socialist allies, determined to lay him to rest with as much private pomp as possible, organized the arrival ceremony yesterday.

IRAQ

Saddam makes speech on witness stand

BAGHDAD — Saddam Hussein, testifying yesterday for the first time in his trial, called on Iraqis to stop killing each other and instead fight U.S. troops. The judge reprimanded him for making a rambling political speech and ordered the TV cameras switched off.

Saddam began his speech by declaring that he was the elected president of Iraq, touching off a shouting match with Chief Judge Raouf Abdel-Rahman.

“You used to be a head of state. You are a defendant now,” Judge Abdel-Rahman told him.

Saddam repeatedly brushed off the judge’s demands that he address the charges against him: the killing of more than 140 Shi’ites and the imprisonment and torture of others during a crackdown in the 1980s.

DENMARK

Prosecution declined for prophet drawings

COPENHAGEN — Denmark’s top prosecutor said yesterday he will not press charges against the newspaper that first published drawings of the prophet Muhammad that triggered deadly protests by Muslims worldwide.

The prosecutor’s ruling prompted the Foreign Ministry to upgrade its travel warnings for Muslim countries from Algeria to Malaysia.

“The decision may cause negative reactions to Danes and Danish interests abroad,” the ministry said. “With that background, Danes should be particularly cautious when traveling.”

SOUTH KOREA

Checkpoints opened with North

PAJU — South Korea formally opened immigration checkpoints yesterday for travelers crossing the heavily fortified border with North Korea, symbolizing Seoul’s hopes for boosting exchanges with its longtime communist foe.

A checkpoint at Paju, 1.2 miles south of the world’s last Cold War frontier, is a gateway to one of the two roads and adjacent railways that the divided Koreas have reconnected since their leaders held their summit in 2000. A second immigration point to the east connects with a tourist spot in North Korea.

Permanent buildings formally opened at both sites yesterday replace temporary structures used at the crossings since they opened several years ago.

THAILAND

Thaksin considers stepping aside

BANGKOK — Thailand’s prime minister hinted yesterday that he would consider stepping down from the post temporarily, after weeks of raucous demonstrations accusing him of corruption and demanding his resignation.

Critics have suggested that Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra step aside before April 2 parliamentary elections and appoint a neutral replacement to oversee proposed reforms to the constitution, a move that would defuse growing protests. Asked about that proposal, Mr. Thaksin said: “It is a good proposal, and I am considering this.”

Thousands of protesters camped overnight near Mr. Thaksin’s office in Bangkok, vowing to continue demonstrations daily until he resigns.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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