- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 14, 2006

VATICAN CITY

Pope calls meeting on celibacy issues

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI has called a meeting of Vatican advisers for a “reflection” on issues related to celibacy in the church after a schism led by a renegade African archbishop who wants priests to be able to marry.

The meeting will be held Thursday, Vatican’s press office announced yesterday. Chief Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said the meeting was not being called to consider major changes in the celibacy rule, but to discuss the issue generally and certain individual cases.

The main purpose of the meeting is to discuss the ramifications of the crisis sparked when Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo ordained four married men as priests at a ceremony in Washington in September. That prompted his automatic excommunication from the Roman Catholic Church.

GEORGIA

South Ossetia votes for independence

TSKHINVALI — South Ossetians voted overwhelmingly for independence in their second referendum since breaking away from Georgia in the early 1990s, officials in the tiny mountainous region said yesterday, in balloting that neither the United States nor Europe intends to recognize.

Russia has also stopped short of recognizing Sunday’s vote.

Election officials in South Ossetia said 99 percent of voters approved independence for the Caucasus Mountains region, which split off from Georgian government control in a 1991-92 war that killed more than 1,000 people, displaced tens of thousands, and resulted in the region’s de facto independence.

SOUTH KOREA

Seoul won’t intercept ships bound for North

SEOUL — South Korea will not join a U.S. plan to intercept North Korean ships suspected of carrying arms cargo out of fear of raising tensions with its neighbor, officials said yesterday.

South Korean officials have said interdicting North Korean ships could lead to military clashes between the two countries that are technically still at war.

The South insisted that it was already doing enough to stem potential weapons proliferation from North Korea — which detonated a nuclear device on Oct. 9 — and announced no new measures to sanction the North under a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning the test.

EUROPEAN UNION

Poland blocks accord on ties with Russia

BRUSSELS — Poland yesterday blocked EU efforts to agree on a new blueprint for blocwide relations with Russia, citing trade and energy concerns, EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said.

EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels had been hoping to make some movement on arrangements for the new Partnership and Cooperation Agreement ahead of a European Union-Russia summit on Nov. 24 in Helsinki.

Warsaw is taking its stance to pressure Moscow to ratify an international energy charter and lift embargoes on Polish meat and plant products.

CHAD

Clashes prompt state of emergency

N’DJAMENA — Chad declared a state of emergency yesterday in the capital, N’Djamena, and some eastern areas, where raiders on horseback have killed hundreds of villagers in ethnic attacks in recent weeks.

President Idriss Deby’s government already faces an armed insurgency from the east, which has been caught up in spillover violence from neighboring Sudan’s conflict-torn Darfur region.

The government has accused Sudanese Arab militias of provoking clashes between Arab and non-Arab Chadians through frequent raids over Chad’s eastern border with Darfur.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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