- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 12, 2007

PORTUGAL

Girl turns 4 in captivity

PRAIA DA LUZ — A girl kidnapped in Portugal spent her fourth birthday still missing yesterday, prompting a call from her parents for redoubled efforts to find her.

Madeleine McCann disappeared nine days earlier from her bed in a resort hotel, where she had been on vacation with her parents in the Algarve. Police say all evidence points to an abduction.

The Portuguese daily Correio de Manha reported that police are now looking for two men and a woman who were filmed on security cameras with a young girl at a gas station not far from the resort where Madeleine disappeared.

Newspapers and television have reported the same trio may have been at the same beach as the McCanns a few days before the kidnapping, taking pictures of Madeleine. One witness near the beach had reportedly complained of his child being photographed.

FRANCE

Freed aid worker arrives back home

VILLACOUBLAY — A French aid worker freed by the Taliban after 38 days as a hostage in Afghanistan arrived back in France early yesterday, and said he had been well-treated by his captors.

A plane carrying Eric Damfreville, who was freed in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar on Friday, touched down at Villacoublay airport outside Paris early yesterday morning.

Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy and Antoine Vuillaume, head of Terre d’Enfance (A World for Our Children), the aid organization for which he worked, boarded the plane as soon as it came to a halt on the runway.

Mr. Damfreville, who had been accompanied by a doctor during his flight from Kabul aboard a French air force Falcon 900, was immediately whisked away by a waiting ambulance.

ICELAND

Ruling coalition suffers setback

REYKJAVIK — Iceland’s center-right coalition government suffered a heavy setback in a weekend general election, losing its majority in parliament despite a rosy economic record, unofficial estimates showed late yesterday.

Prime Minister Geir Haarde’s Independence Party was credited with the most votes, 35.6 percent, but his coalition partner the Progressive Party saw its support plummet to just 11.4 percent, the estimates released by Icelandic television showed.

In terms of seats, the outgoing coalition would hold 31 of the 63 seats in the Althing, or parliament.

If confirmed, the results would mean the end of the center-right coalition government that has been in power for 16 years.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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