- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 17, 2007


Papon reportedly dead at age 96

PARIS — Maurice Papon, the only French Nazi collaborator to be convicted for his role in the deportation of Jews during World War II, died yesterday, police sources said. He was 96.

A successful postwar politician who became a minister before his past caught up with him, Papon underwent heart surgery on Tuesday and died yesterday in a private clinic near Paris.

Papon was sentenced for crimes against humanity and jailed in 1999 before being released in September 2002 because of poor health.


Abortion limits might be relaxed

LISBON — Portugal’s prime minister said legislation relaxing the conservative Roman Catholic country’s strict law on abortion could be approved by the end of March, a newspaper reported yesterday.

In a referendum last week, nearly 60 percent of Portuguese citizens approved legalizing abortion through the 10th week of pregnancy, but the vote was nullified because of low turnout. The Socialist government pledged to sponsor legislation to change the law.

Portugal has one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the European Union. Abortion is allowed in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy only if a woman’s health is at risk. In cases of rape it is permitted until the 16th week, and there is no time restriction if the procedure is the only way of saving a pregnant woman’s life.


Russia U.N. veto gives nationalists hope

BELGRADE — Serbia is convinced that a U.N. plan granting supervised statehood for the contested Kosovo province stands no chance of approval at the U.N. Security Council, where Serbian ally Russia holds a veto, a government minister said yesterday.

Zoran Loncar also blasted the key architect of the plan, chief U.N. envoy Martti Ahtisaari, as “biased and working in the interest of the [Kosovo] ethnic Albanians” who have sought to split the troubled region from Serbia.

The plan envisages internationally supervised self-rule for Kosovo and the trappings of statehood — such as a flag, anthem, army and constitution — while giving the minority Serbs more control over their day-to-day affairs.


Protesters want Americans to leave

VICENZA — Tens of thousands of people marched through the northeastern Italian city of Vicenza under heavy police guard yesterday to protest a planned U.S. military base expansion.

The demonstrators, estimated by police to number 50,000 to 80,000, marched peacefully along the four-mile route as hundreds of policemen stood guard and helicopters hovered above.

The expansion, which has strained relations within Italy’s governing center-left coalition, is part of the U.S. Army’s overall transformation into a lighter, more mobile force. Under it, elements of the 173rd Airborne Brigade, a rapid reaction unit now spread between Italy and Germany, would be reunited at the Vicenza base.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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