- The Washington Times - Monday, October 9, 2006

IRAN

Leading Shi’ite cleric, supporters arrested

TEHRAN — A senior Shi’ite cleric who has challenged Iran’s system of clerical rule was arrested yesterday after his supporters clashed with police outside his house in Tehran, news agencies reported.

Reports said Ayatollah Mohammad Kazemeini Boroujerdi was detained with several supporters a day after more than 200 backers clashed with police during a protest outside his house.

Iranian authorities are wary of any challenge, particularly from top clerics, to the system of clerical rule that was established after the 1979 Islamic revolution by revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

LITHUANIA

Russian is expelled over spying charges

VILNIUS — Lithuania yesterday expelled a high-ranking Russian diplomat on suspicion of spying, the Baltic News Service (BNS) reported, quoting unnamed sources.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman declined to comment on the report but invited reporters to what he called an “informal briefing” on the issue today.

Sources told BNS that the diplomat working in Vilnius had been ordered to leave Lithuania on suspicion of espionage and “seeking to influence Lithuania’s determination to support Georgia amid its conflict with Moscow.”

DENMARK

Prime minister condemns cartoons

COPENHAGEN — Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen denounced members of the anti-immigrant Danish People’s Party (DPP) youth wing yesterday for drawing humiliating cartoons of the prophet Muhammad.

In Tehran, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said those who insulted the prophet were “low life” devoid of human values, the Iranian Students News Agency reported.

The two leaders’ condemnations followed Danish state TV’s airing on Friday of amateur video footage showing members of the DPP youth wing at a summer camp in August drinking, singing and taking part in a competition to draw images mocking the prophet.

KENYA

Prince Edward starts tour in drought zone

LODWAR — Britain’s Prince Edward began a four-nation tour of Africa yesterday with a visit to a spectacular but neglected corner of Kenya where drought has decimated livestock and caused widespread hunger.

Queen Elizabeth’s youngest son visited British-funded school, hospital and water projects around Lodwar, capital of the vast and arid Turkana district in northwest Kenya, which has been hit hard by this year’s drought across East Africa.

“It has been great to see for myself the work being done here, and I can only hope it will encourage more support,” Edward said as residents sang and danced in welcome.

EGYPT

Arab, Muslim troops proposed for Darfur

CAIRO — Arab countries have begun a new effort to push Sudan to accept U.N. peacekeepers in Darfur, offering to dispatch a force of Arab and Muslim troops to the troubled region, diplomats said yesterday.

The Arab League diplomats said Sudan’s president had rejected the initial proposal but promised to suggest an alternative soon.

“The situation is deteriorating and needs intervention,” said Hesham Youssef, an aide to the league’s secretary-general, Amr Moussa. But Mr. Youssef said the Arab negotiators think the world community also should be flexible.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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