- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 21, 2007

ITALY

Muslims seek ‘reciprocal respect’

VIGEVANO — The Islamic community of this Italian city wrote a letter praising Pope Benedict XVI as he began a visit marred by a reported attack by Muslims on a Christian convert.

The 80-year-old Pope began a 24-hour visit yesterday to this city near Milan with a mass in Vigevano’s Piazza Ducale.

The visit was marred on Friday when a Moroccan man who had married a local Italian woman and converted to Christianity was beaten by Muslims and needed hospital treatment, according to Italian news reports.

In a letter given to the city’s bishop for the pope, the Muslim community told him they were committed to “a common path of understanding and reciprocal respect.”

UKRAINE

Suspects arrested in crime boss murder

KIEV — Authorities in Ukraine have arrested two suspects in the murder of a Russian man thought to have links to organized crime, who was shot by a sniper as he left a Kiev court, security officials said yesterday.

Maksim Kurochkin, known as “Mad Max,” was shot last month as he was getting into a police van in the inner courtyard of the court building. He had just been convicted of extortion.

Authorities did not release details of the suspects, including their nationalities.

RUSSIA

Space tourist lands safely

KOROLYOV — An American billionaire who paid $25 million for a 13-day trip to outer space returned to Earth yesterday in a space capsule that also carried a cosmonaut and a U.S. astronaut, making a soft landing on the Kazakh steppe.

The capsule carrying Charles Simonyi, a Hungarian-born software engineer who helped develop Microsoft Word and Excel, touched down after a more than three-hour return trip from the orbital station, a spokesman said at Mission Control outside Moscow.

Also on the return journey were Mikhail Tyurin and Michael Lopez-Alegria, who spent seven months on the International Space Station.

CZECH REPUBLIC

Right warns left after tomb attack

PRAGUE — A Czech extreme right leader threatened payback yesterday against leftists he said were responsible for damage to the tomb of a fascist general.

“One day payback will come and then they will be the first to take responsibility,” Patriotic Front head David Machacek said as his organization gathered at the Prague gravesite of Gen. Radola Gajda, who helped found the National Fascist Community in 1925.

TURKEY

Police arrest girlfriend of purported killer

ANKARA — Police have detained the girlfriend of the purported leader of the assailants who killed three Protestants in eastern Turkey, bringing the number of people in custody to 12, officials said yesterday.

The woman is the girlfriend of Emre Gunaydin, 19, who remains in a hospital after jumping from the third-story office of a Christian publishing house in Malatya, where two Turks and a German were slain Wednesday, Gov. Halil Ibrahim Dasoz said.

The three victims, who belonged to the tiny Protestant community in Malatya, were killed by knife-wielding assailants who tied the men to chairs and tortured them before cutting their throats.

News reports said the killers are thought to be members of a cell of nationalist-Islamist fanatics similar to one in the northern city of Trabzon blamed for the January murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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