- The Washington Times - Friday, March 2, 2007

RUSSIA

Putin picks Kadyrov as Chechen president

GROZNY — President Vladimir Putin nominated a widely feared security chief as the new president of Chechnya yesterday.

Ramzan Kadyrov, who previously had served as Chechnya’s prime minister, has run a security force that is accused of abducting and abusing suspected rebels and civilians believed to be linked to them.

Mr. Kadyrov had been widely expected to seek the presidency after turning 30 in October — the minimum age for presidents under local law. His nomination follows Mr. Putin’s dismissal of regional President Alu Alkhanovlast month and must be approved by the local legislature — a mere formality given Mr. Kadyrov’s clout.

Mr. Kadyrov is the son of the late Akhmad Kadyrov, who became Chechen president in 2003 in a Kremlin-conducted election. He was assassinated seven months later.

GERMANY

Enriched uranium buried in garden

BERLIN — A German man obtained enriched uranium and buried it in his garden, raising concerns about the security of Germany’s nuclear reactors, the environment ministry in the state of Lower Saxony said yesterday.

A ministry spokeswoman said it was not clear when the man, a resident of the northwestern German town of Lauenfoerder, got hold of and buried the 14 low-enriched uranium pellets, which he had sealed in a steel container wrapped in a plastic bag.

He wrote to German Chancellor Angela Merkel in December saying he wanted to hand it over, but it was not until last week that officials unearthed the pellets.

The pellets were enriched to a level of around 4 percent, well below the weapons-grade threshold of 80 to 90 percent, and tests on the area revealed no radioactive contamination.

SOMALIA

Advance team of Ugandans arrives

MOGADISHU — The advance team of an African peacekeeping force to Somalia arrived unannounced in the country yesterday, a senior police officer said. A Ugandan military spokesman, however, denied that any troops were in Somalia.

Thirty Ugandan troops arrived in a military plane yesterday morning, according to Adan Biid Ahmed, the police chief of the southern town of Baidoa where the transitional parliament sits.

The Ugandan contingent will be part of an African Union peacekeeping force meant to help Somalia’s fragile, transitional government establish security in the country following decisive battles with a radical Islamic movement two months ago.

CHINA

Hong Kong rivals spar in TV debate

HONG KONG — Two candidates for Hong Kong’s leadership traded barbs in the first debate of its kind in the former British colony yesterday, with the Beijing-backed incumbent, Donald Tsang, scoring higher marks in a snap poll.

An 800-seat electoral committee will select the city’s next chief executive on March 25 in a secret ballot Mr. Tsang is widely expected to win by a considerable margin.

Respected lawyer Alan Leong, who made history last month by qualifying as the first pro-democracy challenger in such a leadership contest, challenged Mr. Tsang in the televised debate on the economy and plans for full democracy.

BRITAIN

McCartney, wife face off in court

LONDON — Former Beatle Paul McCartney and his estranged wife, Heather, faced off in court yesterday in what has become one of show business’ most publicized divorces.

Journalists swarmed to the High Court in London after it was learned the two were meeting for a second day at a hearing. The names of the parties were not listed on the courtroom door in an attempt to keep the press away.

At stake is a share of Mr. McCartney’s fortune, estimated at up to $1.62 billion, and custody of daughter Beatrice.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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