- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 4, 2007


$360 million pledged to rebuild Afghanistan

ROME — International donors pledged $360 million yesterday to train judges, build new prisons and enact other measures to strengthen Afghanistan’s judicial system at a conference overshadowed by concerns over civilian casualties caused by NATO forces.

NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said the alliance would do everything in its power to avoid civilian casualties and that deaths of civilians would be investigated. He stressed, however, that Taliban and other extremists were in a “different moral category” from coalition soldiers who inadvertently cause civilian casualties.

Over the weekend, Afghan officials said 45 civilians were killed in a bombing by NATO and the U.S.-led coalition in Helmand province.


Rebel plan to attack Americans foiled

BOGOTA — Colombian police foiled a plan by leftist rebels to attack U.S. military advisers at a popular vacation resort near the capital, Bogota, a government official and the U.S. Embassy said yesterday.

Police said they arrested three men in Melgar with explosives and a photograph of a diplomatic vehicle Saturday, a day after the U.S. Embassy warned its citizens away from the town because of a threat of guerrilla violence.

A Colombian government official said the detainees were suspected members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the country’s largest rebel group.

More than 300 U.S. military advisers and trainers are working in Colombia, which has received more than $4 billion in aid from Washington since 2000 to fight drug trafficking and leftist rebels.


Napoleon letter fetches record price

LONDON — One of the world’s greatest collections of historical letters, including an apologetic note written by Napoleon Bonaparte to his lover, Josephine, after a row, fetched $7.7 million at auction yesterday.

The treasure trove of almost 1,000 documents, collected over 30 years by Austrian banker Albin Schram, included letters written by Winston Churchill, Peter the Great, Alexander Pushkin, John Donne and Queen Elizabeth I.

The passionate letter by an apologetic Napoleon to his wife-to-be, Josephine de Beauharnais, the morning after a furious argument sold for $557,000.


Red Army soldiers buried again

TALLINN — Estonia yesterday reburied the remains of eight Soviet soldiers whose exhumation from a war grave had sparked deadly riots and infuriated neighboring Russia in April.

The eight white caskets were lowered into new ground at the Defense Forces cemetery in a ceremony attended by Defense Minister Jaak Aaviksoo, foreign diplomats and World War II veterans.

Russia’s ambassador to Estonia, Nikolai Uspensky, declined an invitation to the ceremony. He would attend a separate ceremony at the cemetery later along with Russian war veterans, the Russian Embassy said.


‘Living goddess’ loses status after travel

KATMANDU — A 10-year-old Nepalese girl was stripped of her title as a living goddess because she traveled overseas to promote a documentary about the centuries-old tradition, an official said yesterday.

Sajani Shakya is among several “Kumaris,” or living goddesses, in Nepal, but as one of the kingdom’s top three, is forbidden from leaving the country.

However, last month she left Nepal for the United States and other countries to promote a British documentary about the living goddesses of the Katmandu Valley. Sajani is to return to Nepal later this week.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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