- The Washington Times - Monday, October 16, 2006


Special forces told to quit Afghanistan

PARIS — French special forces tracking Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan have been ordered home by President Jacques Chirac because of the “worsening security situation,” it was reported yesterday.

Unidentified military sources cited in Le Journal du Dimanche said Mr. Chirac gave the go-ahead during a defense council meeting to pull the group of 200 elite soldiers out of the country by early next year. They have been there since 2003.

According to the report, the troops were badly shaken by the recent death of nine members during a combat mission. They also are said to be needed to bolster France’s 2,000-strong military presence in southern Lebanon.


One-third of migrants fail citizenship test

LONDON — One-third of all applicants for Britain’s citizenship test failed the exam, the Sunday Telegraph reported.

Candidates must correctly answer 18 of 24 multiple-choice questions on the test, introduced in November to ensure that new citizens show a commitment to Britain and its traditions.

The test has drawn the ire of historians and applicants alike, who say that the questions are vague and that the textbook the government recommends candidates study is full of mistakes. Among other errors, the book misquotes former Prime Minister Winston Churchill.


Olmert, Abbas deadlock on summit

JERUSALEM — Efforts to arrange a summit between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas are deadlocked, a senior Israeli official said yesterday.

“We offered [Mr. Abbas] a meeting and he seemed uninterested,” the official said. “We are still offering, but he said it was conditional on [Israel] releasing [Palestinian] prisoners, and we will not free prisoners until Gilad Shalit is released.”

Cpl. Shalit, an Israeli soldier, was abducted by Palestinian militants in a cross-border raid from the Gaza Strip in June. They have demanded that Israel release hundreds of Palestinians from its jails in return for the soldier.


Indiana pioneer among 4 new saints

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI gave Catholics four new saints yesterday, elevating a 19th-century nun who struggled on the American frontier, a bishop who tended to the wounded of the Mexican Revolution and two Italian clergy.

French-born Mother Theodore Guerin endured harsh conditions on the U.S. frontier while working to establish Catholic education for pioneers. She established a college for women in Indiana, which enrolled its first student in 1841.

“The church rejoices in the four new saints,” Benedict said. “May their example inspire us and their prayers obtain for us guidance and courage.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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