- The Washington Times - Monday, September 10, 2007

JAPAN

Abe stakes job on naval mission

SYDNEY, Australia — Embattled Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said yesterday he will not cling to his job if he cannot extend his country’s naval mission in support of U.S.-led operations in Afghanistan, vital to Tokyo’s ties with Washington.

Opposition parties, which won control of the upper house of parliament in a July election, can delay passage of a bill to extend the mission beyond its Nov. 1 expiration date.

Mr. Abe, in a press briefing after a summit of Asia-Pacific leaders in Australia, said he will do all he can to extend the mission but indicated that he could resign if the mission to refuel U.S.-led coalition ships is ended.

GUATEMALA

Runoff expected in presidential vote

GUATEMALA CITY — Guatemalans voted for a new president yesterday in an election marred by the worst political violence since the end of the 36-year civil war, with drug gangs and political rivals killing 50 people on the campaign trail.

The two top contenders — right-wing former Gen. Otto Perez Molina and center-left businessman Alvaro Colom — are unlikely to get the majority support needed for an outright win, and a November runoff is expected.

Gen. Perez Molina, a head of military intelligence during the 1960-96 civil war, gained on front-runner Mr. Colom in polls, capitalizing on the violence with his “strong fist” message against crime and corruption.

LIBERIA

Exports resume for diamond trade

MONROVIA — Liberia has shipped its first consignment of diamonds since the lifting of U.N. sanctions that blocked the export of so-called “blood diamonds” used to fuel years of war, officials said yesterday.

A shipment valued at about $222,000 left Liberia last week, government spokesman Laurence Bropleh said.

The precious gems were a major force in the cross-border conflict that ravaged Liberia and neighboring Sierra Leone for more than a decade.

AUSTRIA

Pope makes plea for restful Sabbath

VIENNA — Pope Benedict XVI yesterday called on Catholics to keep the Sabbath a day set aside for reflection on their faith and not surrender it to “the mad rush of the modern world.”

The pontiff made his call on the last day of a trip to Austria during a Mass in Vienna’s majestic St. Stephen’s Cathedral, one of the city’s main landmarks. The pope said Western societies had transformed Sundays into days where leisure activities eclipsed the traditional Christian meaning of the day: to devote time to God.

GERMANY

TV host fired over Nazi remark

BERLIN — German tele-vision station NDR yesterday said it fired a high-profile talk-show host after she praised the family model of the Nazi era.

Eva Herman, 48, reportedly remarked, “It was a gruesome time. … But even then there were good things and these were the values of children, mothers, families, togetherness.”

She made the remarks at the introduction of her latest book, adding that the traditional family values were destroyed by the left-wing intellectual movement of the 1960s.

Mrs. Herman has raised eyebrows with her anti-feminist calls for German women to return to a traditional, subservient role.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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