- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 2, 2006

ETHIOPIA

Somalian militia seen as threat

ADDIS ABABA — Ethiopia’s prime minister, who has sent troops to bolster Somalia’s interim government, said yesterday that the al Qaeda-linked militants controlling much of the neighboring nation are a threat to the Horn of Africa and the world.

Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said he held out little hope that the secular acting government in Somalia — which is backed by the United Nations — can reach a peace agreement with the Islamic militants.

“Apparently some people believe that the al Qaeda elements in Mogadishu … are people one can talk to in a reasonable manner, that they can be convinced not to be extremists,” Mr. Meles said in an exclusive interview with the Associated Press.

The extremists “represent a direct threat first to Somalia and the Somali people, second to the region and Ethiopia, and lastly to the international community,” he said. “When they control the whole of Somalia, it would be very naive to assume that they will mend their ways, cease to be terrorists and become very civilized and very tame pussycats.”

IRAN

Moroccan wins Holocaust contest

TEHRAN — A Moroccan won first prize yesterday in Iran’s International Holocaust Cartoons Contest, which had sparked outrage in Israel, the West and among Jewish groups.

Iran’s best-selling newspaper, Hamshahri, initiated a competition in February to find the best cartoon about the Holocaust, in which 6 million Jews were killed by the Nazis. The contest was a retaliation for last year’s publication of caricatures of the prophet Muhammad in Danish and other European newspapers that angered Muslims worldwide.

Presenting a prize to a representative of Moroccan cartoonist Abdellah Derkaoui, Culture and Islamic Guidance Minister Mohammad Hossein Saffar-Harandi praised Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has described the Holocaust as a “myth.” The Moroccan cartoonist won $12,000.

UNITED NATIONS

Panama is chosen as Latin compromise

NEW YORK — Venezuela and Guatemala withdrew their candidacies yesterday for an open U.N. Security Council seat from Latin America and chose Panama instead, diplomats said.

“They have agreed that Panama will be the country that will replace them as a candidate for the Security Council,” said Ecuador’s U.N. ambassador, Diego Cordovez, who hosted talks between the foreign ministers of Guatemala and Venezuela.

Guatemala led Venezuela by about 25 votes in all but one of the 47 rounds of balloting over five days that began Oct. 16. But Guatemala fell short of a required two-thirds majority in the U.N. General Assembly to secure the seat. The choice of Panama still has to be confirmed by 33 Latin American nations and the assembly.

GERMANY

Opera house to stage Mozart show

BERLIN — A Berlin opera house yesterday set new dates for a Mozart work it had canceled because of fears of an Islamic backlash, before reversing its decision after an outcry.

The Deutsche Oper announced last week that it would stage the production of “Idomeneo,” in which the severed head of the prophet Muhammad is seen, after police reversed their view that it posed a security risk.

The opera house then said the earliest the production could be staged was December, but it gave no dates. Director Kirsten Harms sparked a row in September by canceling the opera after she was told that the production posed an “incalculable” security risk.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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