- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 15, 2007

IRAN

U.S. scholar accused of security crimes

TEHRAN — Iran’s judiciary said yesterday that a detained Iranian-American academic is being investigated on charges of security crimes.

Haleh Esfandiari, director of the Middle East Program at the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, has been held for a week at Tehran’s Evin prison. She came to Iran months ago to visit her 93-year-old mother and was prevented from leaving.

Over the weekend, the hard-line Iranian newspaper Kayhan said Mrs. Esfandiari, 67, was accused of spying for the United States and Israel and had formed networks of activists to overthrow the Iranian government.

INDIA

Taj Mahal to get a mud bath

NEW DELHI — The Taj Mahal, the ultimate monument to loss and love, is to receive the archaeological equivalent of a facial mudpack to combat the yellowing effects of aging and pollution on its shimmering white marble surfaces.

The 17th-century monument in Agra, 130 miles southeast of New Delhi, is being discolored by high levels of sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxide emitted by vehicles and the burning of fossil fuels, according to a report submitted to the Indian Parliament.

The treatment, which costs $230,000 each time, involves smearing the surfaces of the Taj with a clay-based mud, allowing it to dry and then washing it off, leaving the surface beneath gleaming white again.

NETHERLANDS

Nazi archive opened to Holocaust researchers

AMSTERDAM — Diplomats from 11 countries agreed yesterday to bypass legal obstacles and begin distributing electronic copies of documents from a secretive Nazi archive, making them available to Holocaust researchers for the first time in more than a half century.

The decision was meant to avoid further delays in allowing Holocaust survivors to find their own stories and family histories and for historians to seek new insights into Europe’s darkest period.

ISRAEL

Anthrax vaccine caused side effects

JERUSALEM — Israel developed its own version of a U.S. anthrax vaccine using soldiers for top-secret experiments that, in several cases, caused permanent side effects, an official involved in the project said yesterday.

Giora Martinovich, former chief medical officer for the Israeli military, went public after a television expose reported that several test subjects had developed illnesses and then been neglected by state health services.

Israel Radio said the program had been ordered amid fears of an anthrax attack by Iraq under Saddam Hussein.

RUSSIA

Agency to build nuke reactor in Burma

MOSCOW — Rosatom, Russia’s atomic energy agency, said yesterday that it had signed a deal to build a nuclear research reactor in Burma, whose military rulers have been criticized by the West for repressive and undemocratic practices.

“This agreement provides for cooperation in the design and construction in [Burma] of a center for nuclear research,” according to Rosatom.

The center will include a nuclear reactor with low enriched uranium consisting of less than 20 percent uranium-235, the agency said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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