- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 31, 2007

LEBANON

Hariri son says Syria plots to kill leader

CAIRO — The leader of Lebanon’s parliamentary majority, Saad Hariri, asserted yesterday that Syria was behind a plot to assassinate him and the Lebanese prime minister ahead of crucial presidential elections next month.

Mr. Hariri, speaking to reporters after a meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, did not elaborate on the plot.

“The assassination is not only of me but of Prime Minister Fuad Siniora also,” said Mr. Hariri, whose father, former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, was assassinated in a 2005 Beirut truck bombing that was widely blamed on Syria.

IRAQ

6 Sadr ministers who quit replaced

BAGHDAD — Iraq’s parliament yesterday replaced two ministers from radical Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s bloc who had quit the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki five months ago.

Salih Mahdi al-Hasnawi, a professor, became health minister and Ali al-Bahadli, a minister in former prime minister Ibrahim Jaafari’s government, was appointed agriculture minister.

Mr. Hasnawi replaces Ali al-Shamari and Mr. Bahadli takes over from Yarob Nazem al-Abudi, who were among six Sadr ministers who walked out of the Cabinet in May, saying Baghdad had failed to provide basic services to people.

KUWAIT

Ex-oil minister not to face charges

KUWAIT CITY — A special Kuwaiti tribunal decided yesterday not to press graft charges against former oil and finance minister, Sheik Ali Khalifa al-Sabah, because of a lack of evidence, a legal source said.

The three-judge panel, which specializes in interrogating ministers, shelved accusations against Sheik Ali, a member of the ruling al-Sabah family, which were filed by the government in 2001.

Sheik Ali and four former top executives of state-owned Kuwait Oil Tanker Co. were accused of amassing illegal profits by creating paper companies and leasing oil tankers, causing losses of more than $100 million.

IRAN

President orders purge of officials

TEHRAN — President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has ordered the sacking of local officials “indifferent” to the problems of ordinary Iranians as he seeks to fulfill pledges ahead of crucial elections, the press reported yesterday.

Mr. Ahmadinejad has made provincial issues a central plank of his presidency, visiting all of Iran’s 30 provinces and giving speeches promising drastic improvements in local infrastructure.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Striking Asians to be deported

DUBAI — Four thousand Asian laborers in Dubai are reportedly facing expulsion after they staged illegal strikes last weekend over poor wages and working conditions in the booming Persian Gulf city state.

Senior Labor Ministry official Humaid bin Deemas told the Arabic newspaper Emarat Al-Youm yesterday that there would be a “deportation of 4,000 laborers who went on strike and committed acts of vandalism.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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