- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 12, 2006


Blair to brief U.S. Iraq panel

LONDON — Prime Minister Tony Blair will give evidence Tuesday to the U.S. bipartisan panel that is reviewing policy in Iraq as Washington and London seek ways to stem violence in the country and draw down their troops.

Mr. Blair will speak to the Iraq Study Group, co-chaired by Republican former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, via video link from London, his office confirmed yesterday.

Mr. Blair is expected to push for diplomatic approaches to Syria and Iran to engage them in helping to stop bloodshed in Iraq, an idea some on the panel have indicated they favor.


Socialist front-runner jeered by left

PARIS — French teachers, a core left-wing constituency, jeered leading Socialist presidential contender Segolene Royal yesterday after she suggested they spend more time in schools and less time giving private lessons.

Video footage, apparently shot during a January meeting in the western town of Angers, has put Miss Royal on the defensive just before the internal party ballot Thursday to pick the Socialist candidate for the 2007 presidential election.

Miss Royal has long topped French opinion polls, but she has been hurt by a series of campaign missteps in recent weeks.


Protesters rally against neo-Nazis

BERLIN — Hundreds of people staged a peaceful rally yesterday against a meeting by the neo-Nazi National Democratic Party (NDP), following its gains in recent regional elections, police said.

Shouting “Nazis out,” roughly 400 demonstrators whistled and booed the 500 NDP members who gathered at a hall in Berlin’s northern Reinickendorf neighborhood.

The rally was called for by local leftist and conservative lawmakers against the NDP, which remains a minor player in national politics. Opponents earlier failed to prevent the NDP from using the Berlin hall for its gathering this weekend.


Ecevit’s mourners critical of Islamists

ANKARA — Thousands of Turks chanted in defense of secularism yesterday as they buried veteran leader Bulent Ecevit, best-known for winning European Union candidacy for Turkey and invading Cyprus in a five-decade political career.

Crowds, which police estimated at at least 50,000, booed Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan — whose party’s roots are in political Islam — as he arrived at the state funeral in Ankara, demanding that Turkey’s policy of separating religion and state be preserved.

Mainly Muslim Turkey is officially secular, but defenders of secularism fear Mr. Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party has a hidden Islamist agenda.

From wire services and staff reports

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