- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Police escape as Taliban move in

KABUL — Police fled a town in western Afghanistan yesterday, and militants suspected of belonging to the Taliban briefly moved in — the second time in a month that the government has lost control of a district in the area.

The police fled to a forest near Bakwa in Farah province a day after a roadside bomb killed four officers involved in opium poppy eradication.

On Sunday, a bomb struck a car carrying the province’s police chief on his return from destroying poppy fields. The police chief was unharmed, but four other officers in the vehicle were killed and two wounded.


CIA agents safe from extradition

ROME — The Italian government is signaling that it will not press Washington for the extradition of 26 Americans — mostly CIA agents — who were indicted in the kidnapping of an Egyptian cleric in Milan, according to remarks published yesterday.

Milan prosecutors want the government to forward to Washington their request for the extradition of the Americans. The government of Silvio Berlusconi refused, and Prime Minster Romano Prodi’s center-left government has been elusive on the issue.

Justice Minister Clemente Mastella suggested in an interview with an Italian newspaper that the government would not seek the Americans’ extradition, saying that relations with the United States needed to be safeguarded.


More oil workers kidnapped by rebels

PORT HARCOURT — Gunmen seized three Eastern European workers in the latest kidnapping to hit Nigeria’s southern oil region, police said yesterday.

The men were abducted late Sunday in the region’s main city of Port Harcourt, Rivers State police spokeswoman Irejua Barasua said.

Scores of foreign workers have been kidnapped in the Niger Delta region since January in a dramatic spike of violence across the swampy southern area, where Nigeria’s crude oil is pumped.


Pageant winner dethroned over son

MADRID — A beauty pageant in Spain disqualified its winner two weeks after she won her crown after learning she was the mother of a 3-year-old boy, sparking criticism yesterday from left-wing parties and a governmental woman’s institute.

Angela Bustillo, 22, said she would sue the organizers of the Miss Cantabria contest, named after the region in northern Spain where it was held.

She said the rules barring pregnant women, or those who already have children, from taking part in the contest are discriminatory because no such limitations apply to contestants in the Mr. Cantabria contest by the same organizers.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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