- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 18, 2007

SIERRA LEONE

Opposition leader sworn in as president

FREETOWN — Sierra Leone’s battle-weary citizens chose an opposition leader as their next president, voting against the party that ushered the country out of a devastating war in 2002 and for the promise of less corruption and more jobs.

Ernest Bai Koroma was sworn in yesterday hours after election officials declared him the winner of a tense runoff vote with 55 percent of 1.7 million ballots cast, compared with 45 percent for the ruling party candidate, Vice President Solomon Berewa.

Although ruling party officials had earlier decried the outcome on local radio, Mr. Berewa said he called Mr. Koroma with congratulations soon after the release of the results.

RUSSIA

Polish leader visits massacre site

KATYN — Polish President Lech Kaczynski signaled yesterday that he wanted a fresh start in Poland’s strained relations with Moscow when he visited the Russian forest where thousands of Polish officers were executed in 1940.

Mr. Kaczynski, dressed in black, laid a wreath at the site of the World War II massacre in Katyn, western Russia, and said Poland and Russia should not dwell on past grievances.

The massacres at Katyn and two other sites — in which 15,000 Polish officers were shot and thrown into pits — are regarded by many Poles as symbols of the repression their country suffered during decades of Soviet control.

CHINA

Hu gets upgrade in new constitution

BEIJING — Chinese President Hu Jintao will join an elite group of Communist leaders when a phrase encapsulating his emphasis on more equitable economic growth is written into the party constitution at a key meeting next month.

The official Xinhua news agency said yesterday that the Chinese Communist Party planned to revise its charter to reflect the “scientific concept of development” that Mr. Hu — party chief for the past five years — has touted as an answer to a widening rich-poor gap, rampant corruption and dangerous pollution.

ISRAEL

Panel urges role for women in army

JERUSALEM — An army-appointed commission has recommended letting women into the military’s last all-male bastions, extending equal opportunities to front-line infantry, armored corps and special forces, Israeli news outlets reported yesterday.

The military said the draft report by a panel of officers and academics was a tool for long-term planning meant to “maximize the abilities of the women for the overall benefit of the armed forces.”

Israel Radio reported that the commission proposed that women no longer be excluded from any unit because of their sex and that drafted men and women should serve for the same length of time.

IRELAND

Irish party eyes campaign in north

DUBLIN — Fianna Fail, for decades the dominant political party in Ireland, is considering running for elections in the British territory of Northern Ireland for the first time.

Ever since Ireland’s partition in 1921, southern political parties have declared their desire to unite the island under one government — but have refused to organize in Northern Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom, citing practical and security problems.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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