- The Washington Times - Monday, April 21, 2008


Former bishop wins election

ASUNCION — Former Roman Catholic Bishop Fernando Lugo won a historic victory in Paraguay’s presidential election yesterday, ending more than six decades of one-party rule with a mandate to help the nation’s poor and indigenous.

His rival, Blanca Ovelar, conceded defeat after a closely fought race to lead this poor, agrarian nation where Ms. Ovelar’s Colorado Party is the only ruling party that most people have ever known.

News of the win by Mr. Lugo, dubbed the “bishop of the poor,” set off massive parties in cities across Paraguay with horn-honking caravans of cars blaring music. Others stamped on torn-down banners of the Colorado Party, which many Paraguayans blame for decades of corruption by political elites.

The triumph by Mr. Lugo’s eclectic opposition alliance also marked the latest in a series of electoral wins by leftist, or center-left, leaders in South America.


Carter briefs king on peace efforts

AMMAN — Former President Jimmy Carter briefed Jordan’s king yesterday on his talks with the exiled militant Hamas leader, a Royal Palace official said.

But King Abdullah II chose to focus their meeting on the faltering Israeli-Palestinian peace process rather than Mr. Carter’s dealings with Hamas, which has frosty relations with Jordan, said the official on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

Mr. Carter held talks with Hamas leader Khalid Mashaal and his deputy in Syria on Friday and Saturday — defying U.S. and Israeli warnings that doing so would lend legitimacy to the group responsible for suicide bombings and other attacks that have killed about 250 Israelis.


Movie planned to answer ‘Fitna’

ISLAMABAD — A Pakistani lawmaker said yesterday that he will fund a movie to rebut an anti-Koran film made by a Dutch politician that has drawn strong condemnation in the Islamic world.

The Dutch movie — “Fitna” or “ordeal” in Arabic — juxtaposes verses from Islam’s holy book with images of the terrorist attacks on New York, Madrid and elsewhere, and shows footage of imams saying Islam should dominate the world.

Pakistani Sen. Babar Awan said his film will “answer the malicious propaganda.”

The 15-minute film by Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders, which appeared on line March 27, triggered angry street protests in Pakistan, Malaysia and Indonesia.


Political violence reportedly kills 10

HARARE — An opposition leader said yesterday that 10 people have been killed in violence since last month’s disputed presidential election and that 3,000 families have been forced from their homes.

Tendai Biti, secretary- general of the Movement for Democratic Change, also said key members of the opposition’s administration had been arrested along with more than 400 supporters.

Mr. Biti appealed to United Nations” organizations in Zimbabwe for help, saying the situation had escalated from a political crisis into a humanitarian one.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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