- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 24, 2007


Abbas, Haniyeh push for cease-fire

GAZA CITY — Moderate Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas made a new push yesterday to restore a cease-fire with Israel that had collapsed under a barrage of Hamas rocket fire.

The two leaders met for the first time since Hamas-Fatah fighting broke out two weeks ago and killed more than 50 Palestinians. The two sides reached a truce over the weekend, but tensions remain high because the key dispute over the security forces remains unresolved.

Intensified Hamas rocket fire accompanying the Palestinian infighting touched off a week of Israeli air strikes that have killed more than 40 Palestinians, most of them militants.


Suicide bomber named in attack

ANKARA — Investigators have concluded that a suicide bomber carried out an attack that killed six persons and injured dozens in Turkey’s capital, using methods similar to those of a Kurdish rebel group, a top official said yesterday.

Ankara Gov. Kemal Onal identified Tuesday’s suicide attacker as Guven Akkus, a 28-year-old man who had spent two years in prison for hanging illegal posters and resisting police.

The rebel group Kurdistan Workers Party denied involvement.


Pope acknowledges Colonial-era ‘crimes’

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI, under fire in Latin America for saying the Catholic Church had purified Indians, acknowledged yesterday that “unjustifiable crimes” were committed during the colonization of the Americas.

But he stopped short of apologizing as demanded by some leaders, including Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.


American consultant for Soros group held

CAIRO — Iran has detained Kian Tajbakhsh, an Iranian-American consultant working for George Soros’ Open Society Institute, the latest U.S. citizen connected to a nongovernmental organization to be seized in the country, the institute said yesterday.

Mr. Tajbakhsh, an urban-planning consultant who has also worked for the World Bank, was detained on or around May 11, the group said.

Earlier this month, Iranian authorities arrested Haleh Esfandiari, director of the Middle East Program at the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars, and charged her with setting up a network to overthrow the Islamic regime.


12 convicted in Djindjic killing

BELGRADE — Two former members of a Serbian paramilitary police unit and 10 co-conspirators were found guilty yesterday of the March 12, 2003, assassination of reformist Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic.

The trial, which ended with the two main suspects receiving 40-year prison sentences, was Serbia’s biggest and most controversial since the fall of Slobodan Milosevic in 2000. Two witnesses were killed, and a judge quit after death threats.


75-year-old dike set for upgrade

AMSTERDAM — After holding back the sea for 75 years, the 18-mile-long dike protecting much of the Netherlands from floods is due for a $1 billion upgrade against mounting risks from rising sea levels and tsunamis.

Today, the Netherlands marks the 75th anniversary of the completion of the Afsluitdijk, the country’s longest dike, which keeps the North Sea at bay. It protects the country’s biggest freshwater lake and source of drinking water.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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