- The Washington Times - Friday, November 2, 2007

BRITAIN

London police fined in Brazilian’s death

LONDON — A jury yesterday found London’s police force guilty of violating health and safety laws in a high-stakes anti-terrorist operation that led to the fatal shooting of a Brazilian man who was mistaken for a suicide bomber.

London’s Metropolitan Police was convicted of placing lives at risk and fined $362,000 in the operation that led to the death of 27-year-old Jean Charles de Menezes on July 22, 2005. The force was also assessed $798,000 in prosecution costs.

Police said the killing was an error — and not a crime. Police chief Ian Blair expressed regrets after the verdict but refused to resign.

VENEZUELA

Troops fire tear gas at protesters

CARACAS — Troops used tear gas and water cannons yesterday to disperse demonstrators who turned out by the tens of thousands to protest constitutional reforms that would permit President Hugo Chavez to run for re-election indefinitely.

Led by university students, demonstrators chanted “freedom, freedom” and warned that 69 amendments drafted by the National Assembly would violate civil liberties and derail democracy.

JAPAN

Ships halt mission to aid war on terror

TOKYO — Japanese warships were ordered home from the Indian Ocean yesterday after opposition lawmakers refused to support an extension of their mission supporting U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan.

The pullback was an embarrassment for Japan’s new prime minister, Yasuo Fukuda, a strong advocate of the six-year mission. Japan has refueled coalition warships in the Indian Ocean since 2001. Legislation repeatedly was passed to renew the mission, but the latest extension expired yesterday amid a parliamentary stalemate. Japan refueled its final ship Monday.

ZIMBABWE

Law lets Mugabe pick successor

HARARE — Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe signed a law giving him more power to choose his successor, the state press reported yesterday.

The law gives Parliament, dominated by Mr. Mugabe’s ruling party the power to pick a successor, should the 83-year-old leader retire or die before his term in office ends. Previously, elections had to be called within six months.

Mr. Mugabe has indicated that he will stand for re-election. The opposition Movement for Democratic Change unexpectedly voted for the bill in September, saying they were backing the changes as a “confidence-building measure.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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