- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 22, 2007


Castro appears to be recovering

HAVANA — Photographs published in Cuba’s party newspaper yesterday showed Fidel Castro meeting and shaking hands with a visiting Chinese Communist Party official, the latest sign the Cuban leader is becoming increasingly active more than eight months after undergoing emergency intestinal surgery.

The Communist Party daily Granma reported that Wu Guanzheng, a member of the Chinese Communist Party’s Politiburo, met separately Friday with both Mr. Castro and his younger brother, Raul, who has been filling in for his brother since July.

Though he looks somewhat pale after months indoors, the 80-year-old leader appears much stronger than in the early post-operation photos of him last fall.


First-time voters practice democracy

SAMDRUP JONGKHAR — Thousands of Bhutanese practiced for democracy in mock elections yesterday, lining up neatly at polling places in the latest step toward shedding nearly 100 years of absolute monarchy in the secluded Himalayan country.

Bhutan’s 26-year-old king drove for two days across rugged mountains to encourage people to vote in his native village on the border with India. The path toward 2008 parliamentary elections started with his father, who astounded his subjects four months ago by handing the throne to his Oxford-educated son.


Military takes control of occupied gas line

YACUIBA — The military retook control of a natural gas pipeline to Argentina after days of violent protests at gas installations in southern Bolivia, the government said late Friday.

More than 1,000 protesters seized the Yacuiba pipeline station run by Transredes, a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell. Protesters broke windows, set fire to two company cars and threatened to shut off gas deliveries to Argentina.

The disturbances killed at least one person and wounded dozens.


Canadian convicted of spying for Israel

CAIRO — An Egyptian-Canadian man was convicted of spying for Israel and sentenced to 15 years in prison by a special security court yesterday.

Three Israelis tried in absentia on spying charges also received 15 years in prison. Mohammed el-Attar, 30, who had pleaded not guilty, flashed a victory sign when he entered the courtroom surrounded by dozens of security personnel.

El-Attar, who was born in Egypt and has Egyptian and Canadian citizenship, told the court he confessed to the crime because he was tortured with electricity.


Authorities probe attack on protesters

MOSCOW — Russia’s government has begun an investigation into protests last weekend against President Vladimir Putin that led to a brutal crackdown, the Interior Ministry said yesterday.

Hundreds were arrested as riot police forcefully broke up demonstrations by the Other Russia movement in both Moscow and St. Petersburg last weekend.

Former world chess champion Garry Kasparov, one of the leaders of the opposition coalition, was among those detained.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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