- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 11, 2006


Former communist elected president

ROME — Italy chose a former communist, Giorgio Napolitano, to be its new president yesterday, opening the way for Romano Prodi to become prime minister more than a month after winning a close general election.

Mr. Napolitano, an 80-year-old senator for life, secured 543 votes from the “grand electors” — lawmakers and regional representatives — 38 more than the absolute majority needed.

The result was the latest blow to outgoing Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, the media tycoon who took three weeks to accept defeat in the April 9-10 national election by a whisker.

Mr. Prodi said he expected his government to be sworn in by Wednesday after Mr. Napolitano takes over from President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi on Monday and begins his seven-year term.


Envoy to Iraq named; first since 1980

TEHRAN — Iran has appointed an ambassador to Iraq for the first time in more than 20 years, the official Iranian news agency reported.

The move indicates an improvement in official Iran-Iraq relations, which have been at the level of charge d’affaires, a lower rank of diplomatic officer, since ambassadors were withdrawn shortly before the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-88.


Hacker suspect to be extradited to U.S.

LONDON — A British court recommended yesterday that a man be extradited to the United States to face charges in the largest attack on U.S. government computer networks — including Army, Air Force, Navy and NASA systems.

Gary McKinnon, 40, of London has been indicted in New Jersey and Virginia for purportedly hacking into U.S. government computers between February 2001 and March 2002. He was arrested in 2002 and has fought his extradition by claiming he could face prosecution under U.S. anti-terror laws.


Activist jailed for anti-Putin banner

MOSCOW — A Russian court sentenced a political activist to 3 years in prison yesterday for hanging a massive banner from a landmark Moscow hotel calling on President Vladimir Putin to resign, ITAR-Tass news agency said.

Olga Kudrina was sentenced for her role in unfurling the black banner that covered four stories of the Rossiya Hotel near the Kremlin and read “Putin — Get Out Voluntarily.” Her accomplice, Yevgeny Logovsky, was handed a suspended sentence.

They belong to the National Bolshevik Party, a radical political group that wants to mount a revolution against Mr. Putin.


U.S. oil executive fatally shot

PORT HARCOURT — An executive of U.S. oil service company Baker Hughes was fatally shot in an apparently planned assassination in Nigeria’s oil heartland yesterday, authorities said.

It was not immediately clear if the killing in the oil city of Port Harcourt was related to a five-month campaign by militants to cripple the oil industry in the world’s eighth-largest exporter, but a diplomat and an oil company source said they thought not.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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