- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 9, 2008

CHILE

Hero dog a hit on Web

SANTIAGO | Chileans have a new hero - an apparently homeless dog that’s gone missing.

A surveillance camera on a Santiago freeway captured images of a dog trotting past speeding cars to pull the body of another dog, mortally struck by a vehicle, away from traffic, to the median strip.

The scene was broadcast by Chilean television stations and then posted on Web sites such as YouTube.com, and hundreds of thousands of people had viewed versions of it by Monday.



Highway crews removed both the dead and live dogs from the median strip of the Vespucio Norte Highway shortly after the Dec. 4 incident, and the rescuer dog ran away.

Authorities say images of the rescue prompted some people to call and offer to adopt the dog, but neither highway workers nor a television crew could find the animal.

CANADA

Liberal premier wins third term

MONTREAL | Quebec Premier Jean Charest won a third term in office Monday, leading his federalist-leaning Liberals to victory in parliamentary elections in the French-speaking Canadian province.

The results marked the first time in more than 50 years that a party leader has won three consecutive election campaigns in Quebec.

The traditionally separatist Parti Quebecois, led by Pauline Marois, finished second.

Mr. Charest’s Liberals earned a majority in the 125-seat Quebec legislature. The premier, who had headed a minority government, called the election with that goal.

Quebec’s sovereignty was not a major campaign issue in this election, taking a back seat to the struggling economy throughout the monthlong election campaign.

SOUTH AFRICA

President fires top prosecutor

PRETORIA | South African President Kgalema Motlanthe on Monday dismissed the head of the country’s prosecuting authority, which is leading the corruption case against ANC leader Jacob Zuma.

Vusi Pikoli, head of the National Prosecuting Authority, angered many in the ruling African National Congress and former President Thabo Mbeki by carrying out separate investigations of Mr. Zuma and national police chief Jackie Selebi.

The main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, said Mr. Pikoli’s dismissal was politically motivated.

Mr. Mbeki suspended Mr. Pikoli in September 2007 after the prosecutor requested an arrest warrant for Mr. Selebi, an Mbeki ally accused of involvement with organized crime. Mr. Selebi faces corruption and fraud charges and is currently suspended.

Mr. Motlanthe took over after Mr. Mbeki was ousted by the ANC in September.

NORTH KOREA

Hunger stalks 40% of population

United Nations agencies reported that nearly 40 percent of North Korea’s population will need food assistance in the coming year, largely because of critical shortages of fertilizer and fuel.

The World Food Program and the Food and Agriculture Organization said food production was down again for the third year running. The organizations said in a joint report that 8.7 million people out of North Korea’s total population of 23 million - or 38 percent - will need food assistance in the new year.

Food assistance will be needed until the next harvest, in October.

Meanwhile, the latest round of talks on North Korea’s nuclear program began in Beijing, where China began drafting a plan to verify North Korean pledges to stop making atomic bombs.

FRANCE

Police raid nets Basque ‘terrorists’

PARIS | French police have arrested three members of the Basque separatist organization ETA including one who is thought to be the new military leader of the group, the French government said Monday.

“Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie … congratulates the police … who arrested three members of the Basque terrorist organization ETA, including one who has already been identified as Balak, the presumed successor to Txeroki as the military head of ETA,” Miss Alliot-Marie’s office said in a statement.

Garikoitz Aspiazu Rubina, known by his alias “Txeroki,” was arrested in France last month. He is thought to be behind attacks including the bombing of Madrid airport in 2006.

Spanish media identified the most senior man arrested on Monday as Aitziol Iriondo, and one of the others as Eneko Zarrabeitia.

ISRAEL

Journalists again blocked from Gaza

JERUSALEM | Israeli defense officials have reinstated a ban on international journalists entering the Gaza Strip, despite protests from the heads of major news organizations and an appeal to the country’s Supreme Court.

After weeks of media protests, the ban was lifted Thursday, only to be reimposed the following day as part of a wider closure of the Gaza border in response to Palestinian rocket attacks.

Israeli military spokesman Peter Lerner said Monday that the closure, including the press ban, would be reviewed daily. Israeli officials have said access will be restored when the Palestinians stop the cross-border rocket fire.

Israel imposed the ban on Nov. 5 as a truce began to unravel in a flurry of Israeli strikes against militants and Palestinian rocket attacks on Israeli towns. The violence has continued almost every day, straining a 5-month-old truce between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers.

INDIA

Ruling party win defies expectations

NEW DELHI | India’s ruling party won two state elections and was leading in a third on Monday, defying predictions of a political battering after both an economic slowdown and the militant attacks on Mumbai.

Counting went on for five state elections, mostly in central and west India, with final results due by late Monday.

The votes come before national elections in the first half of 2009 that will pit a ruling Congress-led coalition against an opposition alliance led by the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Congress held on to Delhi and the western state of Rajasthan, where the BJP was incumbent and conceded defeat. Incumbents traditionally fare poorly in Indian elections.

Congress also had an unassailable lead in the remote and small northeastern state of Mizoram, where it was fighting a regional party. The BJP has a similarly commanding lead in Madhya Pradesh and looked close to returning to power in Chhattisgarh.

NETHERLANDS

Gay activists hold ‘pink’ Yule party

AMSTERDAM | A Dutch gay group has organized a “Pink Christmas” festival for the first time in Amsterdam, featuring a manger stall with two Josephs and two Marys.

Other attractions in the 10-day festival include parties, an open-air market, gay-themed films, an ice-skating rink and religious services on Dec. 25.

ProGay group chairman Frank van Dalen says the event is intended to increase the range of options for homosexual men and women during the Christmas holiday week.

Some Christian groups have protested. The organization Christians for Truth says the idea “mocks the core concepts” of Christianity.

CHILE

Antarctic cruise ship freed by Navy tug

SANTIAGO | Navy officials said a cruise ship that ran aground in Antarctica four days ago is again sailing on its own.

Navy Capt. Patricio Espinoza said the Chilean tugboat Lautaro finished freeing the cruise ship Ushuaia early Monday.

The ship had run aground Thursday and its 89 passengers were taken off. The 33 crew members remain aboard.

Capt. Espinoza said a limited oil spill from the Panama-registered cruise ship has been controlled.

BRAZIL

Crash investigation targets transponder

SAO PAULO | A Brazilian Air Force investigation has concluded that a switched-off transponder contributed to a plane crash that killed 154 people in 2006, local media reported Saturday.

The Estado de Sao Paulo and Folha de Sao Paulo newspapers said Air Force investigators determined that the two American pilots of a New York-based executive jet had inadvertently placed the transponder and the collision-avoidance system on standby before colliding with a jetliner Sept. 29, 2006.

The newspapers said the Air Force also concluded that flight controllers failed to alert the pilots that they were on a collision course and failed to notice that the transponder was turned off.

Calls to the Air Force for comment went unanswered Saturday. The report is scheduled to be released formally Wednesday.

The Boeing 737 operated by Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes SA collided over the Amazon rain forest with an Embraer Legacy 600 executive jet.

PANAMA

Former U.S. base hosts Russian ship

PANAMA CITY | A Russian military vessel has docked at a former U.S. Navy base after making a historic passage through the Panama Canal.

The destroyer Admiral Chabanenko is the first Soviet or Russian warship to traverse the canal, which was off limits to the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

It arrived Saturday at the former Rodman Naval Station.

Staff and wire reports

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