- The Washington Times - Friday, February 23, 2007


Ex-secret police chief held in ties to militias

BOGOTA — A former director of the secret police under President Alvaro Uribe was arrested yesterday on charges of murder and collaborating with the country’s illegal far-right militias, his attorney said.

Jorge Noguera, former head of the Department of Administrative Security, was accused of handing over a hit list of human rights workers and trade union activists to the paramilitaries. Several people on the list later were killed.

If convicted, Mr. Noguera faces up to 40 years in prison. He has denied wrongdoing.


Parliament rejects foreign minister pick

KIEV — Ukraine’s parliament yesterday rejected President Viktor Yushchenko’s choice for foreign minister, dealing another major blow to his efforts to maintain control over this former Soviet republic’s foreign policy.

Career diplomat Volodymyr Ohryzko, nominated by Mr. Yushchenko to replace the ousted Borys Tarasyuk, won 196 votes, far short of the 226 needed for approval. Lawmakers also rejected Mr. Yushchenko’s choice of Viktor Korol as Security Service chief, in a 190-4 vote.

Mr. Yushchenko said he would nominate both Mr. Korol and Mr. Ohryzko again.


Ferry fire kills at least 16

JAKARTA — A fire broke out on an Indonesian ferry carrying 300 passengers yesterday, killing at least 16 persons and sending scores of passengers jumping into the sea, officials said. One woman slipped beneath the waves while clutching her 18-month-old daughter.

More than a dozen people remained unaccounted for after the country’s second major maritime disaster in as many months.

The pre-dawn fire started in a truck on the Levina 1’s car deck, hours after the 2,000-ton vessel left the capital, Jakarta, for the northwestern island of Bangka, a port official said.


Blogger sentenced for insulting Islam

ALEXANDRIA — An Alexandria court convicted an Egyptian blogger yesterday of insulting both Islam and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, and sentenced him to four years in prison over his writings on the Internet.

Abdel Karim Suleiman, a 22-year-old former law student who has been in custody since November, was the first blogger to stand trial in Egypt for his Internet writings. He was convicted in connection with eight articles he wrote since 2004.

Rights groups and opposition bloggers have watched the case closely and said they feared a conviction could set a legal precedent limiting Internet freedom in Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous country.


Suspect arrested in N.Y. slaying

PODGORICA — A man arrested in Montenegro in the killing and dismemberment of a woman in New York in 1990 also is suspected in similar slayings of women throughout Europe, police in this tiny Balkan country said yesterday.

Smail Tulja, 67, was arrested in his home in Montenegro’s capital, Podgorica, on an international arrest warrant that authorities received from FBI and Interpol agents, police said.

Mr. Tulja is suspected in the slaying of Mary Beal, 61, of New York City’s Bronx borough, where he worked as a taxi driver. The woman disappeared in September 1990, and her body was found weeks later in two plastic bags.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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