- The Washington Times - Friday, May 26, 2006

ITALY

Troops in Iraq to be cut in June

ROME — The Italian military contingent in Iraq will be reduced by more than 1,000 troops in June, Foreign Minister Massimo D’Alema said yesterday.

“In June we will reduce our troops from 2,700 to 1,600,” Mr. D’Alema said during an evening television show.

It was the first time the government has been specific about the number of troops to be withdrawn from Iraq. The announcement came after Mr. D’Alema met with Prime Minister Romano Prodi to map an exit strategy.

INDONESIA

51 dead in quake

YOGYAKARTA — An earthquake that shook the area around this ancient royal city early today killed at least 51 persons and injured hundreds, hospital staff said.

Sumarno, an official in the morgue at Sarjito hospital in Yogyakarta, said “36 bodies have been brought to the morgue room” there.

In the town of Bantul, near Yogyakarta, the local hospital’s information officer, Kardi, said: “At least 10 people are dead, hundreds are hurt.”

Earlier, a nurse at Muhammadiyah hospital in Yogyakarta had reported at least five deaths there from the quake, which struck just before 6 a.m. and had a magnitude of 6.2, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

GERMANY

Man with knife wounds 19 on street

BERLIN — A knife-wielding man went on a rampage and attacked pedestrians as they left a Berlin celebration early today, wounding 19, four seriously, police said.

Police arrested a 17-year-old suspect.

The man had mingled with crowds after a sound and light show inaugurating Berlin’s new central rail station in the heart of the capital when he began randomly attacking people. A police spokesman said several ambulances were at the scene.

According to ARD television, panic broke out among the people and 100 police officers were called to bring things under control.

BULGARIA

Lawmakers accept U.S. troops on bases

SOFIA — Lawmakers yesterday overwhelmingly approved an agreement allowing U.S. troops to use Bulgarian military facilities.

The vote was 150-20 with two abstentions in the 240-seat chamber.

The ratification was the last formality before the deal takes effect, and opened the way for the first U.S. soldiers to arrive at the end of the year or early next year as planned.

EAST TIMOR

Foreign troops deter civil war

DILI — Hundreds of foreign troops struggled to keep East Timor from tipping toward civil war yesterday amid widening violence, including a mob attack that killed six relatives of a government minister and set his house ablaze.

A small contingent of U.S. Marines flew in to provide security for the U.S. Embassy. A U.S. Navy plane touched down in the capital, Dili, and at least 15 camouflage-clad Marines got off, walking across the tarmac to waiting vehicles.

The death toll from four days of violence climbed to 23 after a mob attacked a house belonging to Home Affairs Minister Rogerio Lobato, smashing its windows and splashing it with gasoline before setting it on fire.

BRITAIN

Lawmaker endorses assassination of Blair

LONDON — Maverick British politician George Galloway has claimed it would be “morally justified” for an assassin to target Prime Minister Tony Blair, but he said he was not advocating an attempt, according to a magazine interview published yesterday.

Mr. Galloway was quoted as saying an attack on Mr. Blair that caused no other casualties would be a justifiable response to Britain’s support for the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

He said he would tell police if he knew of assassination plans.

Mr. Galloway was kicked out of Mr. Blair’s Labor Party in October 2003 for urging British soldiers not to fight in Iraq.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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