- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 6, 2007


IAEA chief suspects nuclear work halted

VIENNA, Austria — Iran seems to have at least temporarily halted the uranium-enrichment program at the heart of its standoff with the U.N. Security Council, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said yesterday.

Hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had been expected to announce last month that Iran had started installing 3,000 uranium-enriching centrifuges at a facility in the desert outside the central city of Natanz, where it has about 500 centrifuges above and below ground. But the announcement never materialized, an apparent step back that IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei appeared to confirm yesterday.

“I do not believe that the number of centrifuges has increased, nor do I believe that [new] nuclear material has been introduced to the centrifuges at Natanz,” he said.


Masked workers raze anarchist hangout

COPENHAGEN — Masked demolition workers yesterday tore down the graffiti-sprayed building that served as the makeshift cultural center for Denmark’s anarchists and disaffected youth, ignoring sobs and obscenities from a surrounding crowd of people.

Four days of street riots followed the owner’s decision to evict squatters from the building — officially abandoned but used by anarchists, punk rockers and left-wing groups since 1982. The violent demonstrations were Denmark’s worst in a decade and drew like-minded young people from across Northern Europe, ending with more than 650 arrests and 25 injured.


Youths in trouble for scaring ostrich

BERLIN — Three teenagers may face a hefty fine if a court decides their festive firecrackers outside an eastern German farm scared the libido right out of an ostrich named Gustav.

Rico Gabel, a farmer in Lohsa, northeast of Dresden, is claiming $6,450 in damages for the purported antics on Dec. 27-29, 2005, by the three teenagers.

The farmer claims that fireworks set off by the boys made the previously lustful Gustav both apathetic and depressed, and thus unable to perform for half a year with his two female breeding partners, according to the lawsuit.


Education Ministry begins banning books

RAMALLAH — The Hamas-run Education Ministry has ordered an anthology of Palestinian folk tales pulled from school libraries, reportedly over mild sexual innuendo, the most direct attempt by the Islamic militants to impose their beliefs on Palestinian society.

The book ban angered and worried many Palestinians, who have feared that Hamas would use last year’s election victory to remake the Palestinian territories according to its hard-line interpretation of Islam.

The 400-page anthology of 45 folk tales was put together by Sharif Kanaana, a novelist and anthropology professor at the West Bank’s Bir Zeit University, and by Ibrahim Muhawi, a teacher of Arabic literature and the theory of translation.


Judges strike over political arrests

KAMPALA — Ugandan judges went on a nationwide strike yesterday, saying their independence had been compromised by police who stormed the High Court and rearrested opposition supporters who had been granted bail.

Opposition leader Kizza Besigye led hundreds of people in a procession to the High Court to support the strike by the country’s 350 judicial officers. Police broke up the procession using tear gas.

Police officers stormed the High Court last week and took custody of six men who had been arrested in 2005 alongside Mr. Besigye and charged with plotting a rebellion. The men had just been granted bail. Mr. Besigye was released on bail in January.


President invokes emergency powers

DILI — East Timor’s president invoked emergency powers yesterday to quell unrest after hundreds of young men blockaded roads with burning tires and concrete blocks, demanding that foreign troops pull out. The United States issued a travel warning, and Australia said it would evacuate nonessential government workers.

Security in the tiny Asian nation deteriorated after international forces backed by helicopters launched a pre-dawn raid Sunday on the mountain hide-out of a fugitive rebel leader, killing four of his followers and sending others fleeing into the jungle.

The rebel leader, Alfredo Reinado, heavily armed and wanted on murder charges, was among those who escaped.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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