- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 26, 2006

IRAQ

Saddam barred, but trial continues

BAGHDAD — Saddam Hussein was thrown out of court again yesterday and his attorneys did not show up at all, but the new judge appointed by the Iraqi government in midtrial pressed on with hearing Kurdish witnesses on the genocide charges.

One described jails packed with Kurds — where girls were raped by a prison camp commander, people were beaten and children died because of a lack of milk — after gas attacks on their villages during Saddam’s 1988 Anfal, or Spoils of War, campaign.

Saddam clashed with Judge Mohammed al-Ureybi, saying he had asked to be excused attendance and no longer wanted to sit in a “cage.” Judge al-Ureybi promptly ordered guards to remove the former president.

LEBANON

U.N. uncovers leads on Hariri killing

BEIRUT — A U.N. report on the killing of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri said new leads had been uncovered on who carried out the attack, but did not say who ordered it, according to a copy obtained by Reuters yesterday.

The latest report of the commission led by Belgian prosecutor Serge Brammertz, delivered yesterday to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, said Syria had been generally cooperative in the investigation into the bombing that killed Mr. Hariri and 22 others in Beirut in February 2005.

BRITAIN

Brown lays out centrist vision

MANCHESTER — Finance Minister Gordon Brown staked his claim yesterday to be Britain’s next prime minister, setting out a centrist vision that still left questions about his electoral appeal.

Mr. Brown said he would keep the ruling Labor Party firmly in the middle ground if chosen to replace Tony Blair when he steps down as party leader and prime minister within a year.

Mr. Blair delivers his farewell speech to the conference today.

The 55-year-old Scot won plaudits from Labor politicians for his speech to the party’s annual conference, but polls show many voters think David Cameron, youthful leader of the opposition Conservatives, is more likable and would make a better prime minister than would Mr. Brown, who lacks Mr. Blair’s charisma.

JAPAN

Abe moves toward victory

TOKYO — Nationalist Shinzo Abe moved toward an easy victory in today’s parliamentary election for prime minister with a promise to create a more assertive nation and give its military a larger international role.

The entire Japanese Cabinet resigned early today in advance of the vote in parliament, paving the way for the new prime minister to appoint his own Cabinet later today. Mr. Abe’s Cabinet picks were expected to reflect his aims for a diplomatically and economically strong Japan.

Mr. Abe, 52, won a landslide victory in last week’s ruling-party presidential election, making it all but certain that parliament will elect him.

NEPAL

No survivors found in helicopter crash

KATMANDU — Searchers yesterday found the wreckage of a helicopter that disappeared over the weekend while carrying 24 persons on a flight chartered by the WWF. No one survived, officials said.

Among those killed in the crash in the mountains 250 miles east of Katmandu were Americans Margaret Alexander, a deputy director for the U.S. Agency for International Development in Nepal, and Matthew Preece, a WWF program officer, according to the conservation group’s Web site.

The helicopter was also carrying Nepalese Forestry Minister Gopal Rai, Finnish Embassy Charge d’Affaires Pauli Mustonen and Canadian Jennifer Headley, a coordinator for WWF.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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