- The Washington Times - Monday, April 14, 2008

BULGARIA

Interior minister quits amid scandal

SOFIA — Bulgaria’s influential interior minister, Rumen Petkov, resigned yesterday amid a snowballing corruption scandal that exposed links between top crime-busters and suspected criminals.

Mr. Petkov, whose personal poll ratings have plummeted in recent weeks, announced his decision at a press conference here.

The BTA news agency cited Prime Minister Sergey Stanishev as telling journalists at a separate briefing that the resignation had been accepted and would lead to a “complete reshuffle” of the government.

Political scientist Kolyo Kolyev, however, told Agence France-Presse that he did not expect a major reshuffle.

“The key to this reshuffle will be Petkov’s replacement,” he said. “The end of this crisis will be good for the country as its image has been tarnished,” he said.

Mr. Petkov insisted that his resignation was “not a sign of weakness, or yielding to pressure,” but rather a necessary step to reforming his ministry.

RUSSIA

Judge shot in southern region

ROSTOV-ON-DON — Russian authorities say a high-ranking judge with the Supreme Court in the restive southern region of Ingushetia has been fatally shot.

Interior Ministry officials say a gunman in a passing vehicle opened fire yesterday on 51-year-old Khasan Yandiyev”s car in the village of Karabulak.

Ingushetia, a small region next to war-scarred Chechnya in Russia’s volatile North Caucasus, is the site of frequent attacks targeting law enforcement authorities.

Russian news agencies report that Mr. Yandiyev presided over numerous corruption cases and trials of militants in the region. Police say an investigation is under way.

FRANCE

Former president gets pacemaker

PARIS — Jacques Chirac”s office says the former French president has left a Paris hospital after successfully having a heart pacemaker fitted.

Mr. Chirac’s office said that he returned home Saturday after a two-night stay at Pitie-Salpetriere hospital and that the operation went “perfectly.”

Doctors have recommended that the 75-year-old lighten his schedule for the next two to three weeks. As a result, he has delayed a planned trip to China originally set to begin this week.

Mr. Chirac was France”s president from 1995 to 2007. He did not seek re-election in the last campaign and was succeeded by fellow conservative Nicolas Sarkozy.

He was hospitalized for a week in 2005 for a vascular problem. Officials did not fully explain what was wrong.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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